A failure to pay 26 cents has placed a man’s life in risk after his insurance refused to cover the operation. Sergio Branco, a 33-year-old truck driver from New Jersey, was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia earlier this year. The leukemia was caught in time to fight the cancer, but even still, time has constantly been of the essence in fighting the disease. That’s why a 26-cent mispayment led to near death for the sick man.
Sergio required a blood-marrow transplant, and was lucky to find a 10-point match – the best possible match. Although the surgery costs over $500,000, Sergio was still covered under his previous job’s health-insurance policy. Although Sergio was fired from his job a month before the surgery, he was still medically covered for two additional months. All he had to do was continue to pay the monthly insurance premium of $518.26.
In a near-fatal mistake, Sergio’s wife sent the insurance company a check for $518.00 – 26 cents short. The family soon learned that they had been dropped from their insurance due to improper payment.
Despite numerous attempts to contact the insurance company, Sergio and his family were unable to pay the 26 cents needed to get back on the plan. Even though the family still technically had time to pay their entire fee, the insurance company would not let them submit more money. As cold as it is, it is very possible Sergio’s insurance actively blocked him out in an attempt to forgo paying the bone-marrow surgery.
Let it be known that this entire story is eerily similar to the plot of Saw VI.
Luckily, this story has a happy ending, as the insurance company has since accepted the 26 cents. What’s still tragic is that without this story gaining mainstream appeal, it’s very possible a man would have been left to die over 26 cents.
Hopefully future cancer medicine will make everyone’s life a lot easier.