Levi Ross, 18, was diagnosed in February with a rare cancer, Epithelioid Sarcoma, in his spinal cord.
Ross' physicians in Kansas told him to go out-of-state for care, but he waited for weeks until his insurance company finally told him that his out-of-state care would not be covered, reported KMBC 9 News (video below).
During the delay by the insurance company, the teen's cancer expanded from his neck to his lungs, dropping his survival chances dramatically.
In 2013, Kansas switched its Medicaid program to KanCare, a program in which three for-profit managed care companies took over the health care for hundreds of thousands of Kansas residents.
Republican Governor Sam Brownback of Kansas assured residents that this privatization of Medicaid would save Kansas at least $1 billion in five years, noted The Kansas City Star.
A KanCare rep told KMBC 9 News that there is a two-step process for out-of-state care: A doctor must approve the out-of-state care and the health insurance company must agree that no one in Kansas can provide the care needed.
Ross recently had to leave his home state to get the surgery he needed at St. Jude Children’s Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee.
Ross' tumor had tripled in size, and his doctors say he would not have survived more than another week had he not had the surgery.
The Kansas Department of Health and Environment doesn't keep records of how many people are denied out-of-state care under KanCare.