Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Students: Don't Get Sick at UC-Berkeley

The previous post on this blog outlined cutbacks in UC-Berkeley athletics. Apparently, for those student athletes who remain and who are covered by the Berkeley health insurance plan, injuries should be avoided. From a Wall St. Journal story on health plans at various universities:

Paula Villescaz, a senior at the University of California at Berkeley, says she never looked closely at the Anthem Blue Cross insurance policy she got through her college. The plan has a $400,000 ceiling, but also has some important limitations, as Ms. Villescaz found out recently.

The political-science major had always been healthy—until March, when doctors discovered she had Ewing's Sarcoma, a rare form of cancer. Berkeley's plan didn't cover her first MRI, her PET scan or many blood tests her doctors required, she says.

In between chemotherapy treatments, Ms. Villescaz says she had to battle the insurance company, which refused to cover her last round of chemotherapy, declaring it medically unnecessary. Her chemotherapy has since concluded, but she is now undergoing radiation treatment.

Ms. Villescaz says she owes about $80,000 all told. Before she got sick, she worked two jobs to support herself and help out her single mother. "I'm going to be paying off these bills for the rest of my life," she says.

Both Berkeley and Anthem declined to comment.

Full story at

Note: Boston U's plan in this story is given good marks. I suspect that has something to do with the larger Massachusetts health insurance requirements for all types of plans. (I was alerted to this story by the calitics website.)

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