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Thread: T12 Para: Wheelchair denial as not medically necessary

  1. #1
    Senior Member foton's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Northern VA

    T12 Para: Wheelchair denial as not medically necessary

    It sounds unbelievable, but it is true. Aetna refused to cover cost of the wheelchair. I am T12 para and all the paperwork has been submitted to them through my neurologist from Georgetown Hospital in Washington DC. Did anyone has previous problems with Aetna? This is really ridiculous since I pay for PPO option. Any ideas how to deal with them?

  2. #2
    Senior Member Broknwing's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Central Florida
    I had an Aetna HMO as my COBRA plan providor from the job I had prior to getting injured...I spoke with the people at my local DME when I was shopping for a chair(I wasn't provided one out of rehab, long story) and they advised me that Aetna's guidelines across the board were $1200 for a non-customized, non lightweight wheelchair and you can-not self-pay the difference to upgrade...They had been able to work around every other insurance co's standard guidelines when it came to people w/SCIs but not Aetna's...They advised me of places to find second-hand chairs for less money than what I'd have to pay out of pocket since my coverage was so lousy & they knew I couldn't afford to buy a new one...I don't know if Aetna has changed any in the past 4yrs but if not, that's probably what has happened to you... it REALLY SUCKS....and for that reason I"ll avoid Aetna in the future...

    I learned REALLY REALLY fast that you have to scrutinize ALL the coverages in a medical plan before you ever think you might need it...
    L-1 inc 11/24/03

    "My Give-a-Damn's Busted"......

  3. #3
    I think almost all DME I got from BCBS was denied. I had to call and bitch and cry. They pay a college educated nurse to use only her right hand to use a rubber stamp on your needs.

    They figure if they wait you out you will give up. It was a joke what I had to deal with. They almost seen a man go postal on the insurance.

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Try contacting your state's insurance commissioner. We once went that route with a property insurance problem.

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Somewhere in the Rocky Mountains
    I am not familiar with Aetna but if it were Medicare I could help with a Medical Necessity appeal. It really depends on what your policy says.

    Unfortunately some insurances can get away with this.
    T12-L2; Burst fracture L1: Incomplete walking with AFO's and cane since 1989

    My goal in life is to be as good of a person my dog already thinks I am. ~Author Unknown

  6. #6
    Senior Member Rrrrronnn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Lawng Eye-Lynd, New York
    These stories give me impulsive daydreams of watching the CEO's of insurance companies getting their necks snapped.

    Sorry foton, good luck with whatever transpires.
    "If ya don't have it in the hips, ya better have it in the lips..." ~ Charlie - Villa Dulce

  7. #7
    Never had Aetna...But i'm fighting with Medicare right now...I need a $30.00 repair on my chair and they refuse to pay for it cause they didnt buy the chair originally. But they'll pay for a new chair..Makes alot of sense dont it? And they wonder why healthcare costs are so high. Its no wonder they say in the future that someday there will be no money left for Medicare......
    T12-L1 since 10/12/03

  8. #8
    Senior Member skippy13's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    in a handbasket
    Foton It could be something as simple as the way the request is worded. I would try to get an explanation of the denial in writing and ask them to be specific about which points they based their denial on. Then try to fix it by re writing the request. Then if all you can do is fight them, dont forget the ombudsman at your congressmans office, the insurance commissioner for your state and the attorney general for your state. If they are just messing with you hit them with some bad publicity too. Aetna is notorious for this kind of thing.

  9. #9
    You always have the right of appeal, and nearly always have to use it for anything but the very cheapest option. You also have the right to request (and this would require) that the appeal be reviewed by the appropriate specialist this case a physiatrist. How the medical letter of necessity is written is critical for this. If you current physician or PT does not know how to write a good one, you need to find someone who does. Quoting the recently published clinical practice guidelines on Upper Extremity Management in SCI related to types and weights of chairs would also be very important as this establishes a standard for what is medically necessary.


  10. #10
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    I have been round and round with my insurance company also. It took a year of phone calls, letters from my doc. and prescriptions to get my cushion covered as a Durable Medical. I took me a week of almost daily phone calls to get my "one chair in my lifetime" covered. Tilite has sample letters of medical necessity that you can use. Check out their Good Luck!


    No I am not a salesperson for Tilite-just happen to own one and needed the letters.

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