Maine woman dying of ALS fights for insurance coverage

5:14 PM, Aug 21, 2013   |    comments
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PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) - Since February of last year you will find John Kennett at his wife Gail's bedside at Maine Medical Center, reading local stories to her favorite historical fiction.

Gail's body is deteriorating because of ALS, a neurodegenerative disorder. But her mind remains alert and alive. She reads and communicates by blinking her eyes or raising her forehead.

She is on a ventilator and requires round the clock care to keep her alive. Treatment Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield stopped paying for last September. The denial was a huge blow to John who taught history for nearly 40 years. He thought his retirement health with Anthem through the Maine Education Association Benefits Trust would cover his wife's medical care. Right now the Kennett's out of pocket hospital bill is more than one million dollars and counting -- Gail's care costs about $3,300 a day.

In a statement, Anthem's spokesman Chris Dugan tells NEWS CENTER..

"Anthem has paid for any and all care covered under Ms. Kennett's policy. Her care is now considered custodial and therefore is not covered by medical insurance.'

Anthem has told the family that Gail could get the same care at a much cheaper cost at a skilled nursing facility, but nearly 40 facilities in Central and Southern Maine has turned them down, the last resort would be to relocate her to another state.

In the meantime family members are making the most of the time they have left with Gail.

John, Gail's Husband says "in spite of everything I am grateful for the time we have had that we might not have had otherwise."


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