86-Year-Old Man Dies Five Days After Authoring Daily Beast Article

DailyBeastLogoThe headline, initially glimpsed on its own, invites natural skepticism. It reads: “My Insurance Company Killed Me, Despite Obamacare.” But once you click through and read the sub-headline, there is absolutely no confusion or doubt:

Malcolm MacDougall, a prominent speechwriter and creative director, was diagnosed with prostate cancer earlier this year. Even after the passage of the Affordable Care Act, his insurance company delayed and denied cancer treatments despite MacDougall paying his premiums. This is his story, in his own words, written five days before he died.

Tragically and incredibly, MacDougall wrote the article from Lenox Hill Hospital, in-between emergency tests and treatments for prostate cancer, following an erroneous decision by his health plan nurse to overrule a doctor’s recommendation. For anyone who has been mired in a health plan bureaucratic nightmare, the details are going to sound familiar, minus the terrible final price paid by MacDougall:

For example, when I asked the broker who sold the policy why my primary-care physician, Dr. David McIntosh, appears on the MagnaCare website listing in-network providers, he explained that I had used “the wrong code.” He said I had used the “099 code” instead of he “699 code.” Apparently, it is a very secret code because it had never been given to me. Subject closed.

When I asked the Health Republic customer-service phone line representative why all the doctors I saw readily accepted my Health Republic/MagnaCare insurance card, she said my particular network was “MagnaCare Extra” not just MagnaCare. When I pointed out that my card simply used the name “MagnaCare” and that I had never heard of “MagnaCare Extra,” she said that was “too bad.” Subject closed.

It all came to a head for MacDougall October 20, when he took a train from New York back to Connecticut, suffering from unbearable pain. The last two paragraphs of his Daily Beast item are beyond First-World-healthcare-system belief. RIP.