Aetna CEO 'Gets It' and 'Owns It'
Arijit is a 31 year old PhD student at the School of Sustainability at Arizona State University. Upon returning from a trip to India last January, Arijit suffered abdominal pain and was ultimately diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer.
As his insurance bills mounted and he reached his insurer's lifetime cap in February, he was cut off. Arijit is insured through his graduate student health plan run by Aetna. In order to fund his treatment, Arijit launched Poop Strong, a site on which he tells his story and seeks funding for his ongoing treatment.
Recently, he engaged in a Twitter conversation with Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini who deftly addressed Arijit's concerns, offered explanation regarding Arijit's situation and shared candid commentary on the state of the insurance industry. Mr. Bertolini appears sincere enough. Of course barbs have been thrown thrown regarding Bertolini's salary and Aetna's profits but Bertolini explains why profits are needed to generate taxes which then fund programs that help the uninsured.
In reference to Arijit's situation, Mr. Bertolini tweets he "gets it" and he "owns it." He has also stated that Arijit has not been entirely kicked off his Aetna insurance plan and that Aetna is actively working with Arijit to find a solution.
Losing one's insurance in the face of mounting medical bills is never a happy scenario. Here's hoping that Arijit, Aetna and Mr. Bertolini can work it all out. And here's to social media for allowing us all to watch the scenario unfold.