Flowers For Kimberly
Somewhere in the vastness that is Aetna there is Kimberly. With over 35,000 Aetna employees, it’s a miracle that we found her. Actually, she found us, last year, right after I wrote to Aetna CEO Ron Williams for the first time. Perhaps we might have found her anyway, but by the time I wrote to Williams I was ready to scream with frustration because I just couldn’t get to anyone who could help us, so however it transpired, the timing was perfect.
All last year Kimberly helped us, always calm and resourceful, often delivering the good news, sometimes the bad. She helped us get reimbursed for the time Shel spent in the hospital here, even though French hospital bills are next to impossible to decipher. We slowly started using first names in our emails to each other. Our notes, sent across 6000 miles and nine time zones, grew to have a friendly tone. We wished each other well. She thought about us sometimes, hoped Shel was doing well. She’s one in a million.
And now, following my last post, she’s helping to get one of the new drugs paid for, so that Shel can try it if he wants to. The drug has lots of undesirable side effects, there might be something better, but if it’s what he decides to try, she says that Aetna will pay for it. Kimberly is working out how it could be sent to us abroad, ways to avoid having to get international refills each month. Kimberly is a sick person’s dream come true.
Would this have happened, blog post or not? We’ll never know. Kimberly is who she is, and Aetna is what it is. You can draw your own conclusions about what, if anything, happened behind the scenes. I absolutely doubt that my letters to various Congress people resulted in a phone call to Mr. Williams who then sent a directive to Kimberly. More likely it’s because she’s a real person with a heart and soul who wanted to help us out of the morass and found a way to do so.
Everyone in America should have a Kimberly. Insurance companies should be populated with people just like her. It’s a crying shame there aren’t enough of her to go around.