‘An Arm and a Leg’: Need surgery to save your life? Tips for getting insurance to pay

Health care — and how much it costs — is scary. But you're not alone with this stuff, and knowledge is power. "An Arm and a Leg" is a podcast about these issues, and its second season is co-produced by KHN.

Laurie Todd calls herself the "Insurance Warrior." She helps people get their health insurance companies to pay for treatment and has written books sharing her knowledge.

Hers is a wealth of knowledge that was hard-won. In 2005, Todd was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. Although she found a doctor who could treat it, her health insurance said it wouldn't be covered. But Todd didn't accept that refusal and got her insurance company to pay for a lifesaving surgery.

Over the next 15 years, Todd honed her insurance-slaying powers. She has fought — and won — more than 200 insurance appeals on behalf of patients, she said.

Listen to the episode to hear some of her time-tested strategies.

Here's a transcript of the episode.


"An Arm and a Leg" is a co-production of KHN and Public Road Productions.

To keep in touch with "An Arm and a Leg," subscribe to the newsletter. You can also follow the show on Facebook and Twitter. And if you've got stories to tell about the health care system, the producers would love to hear from you.

To hear all KHN podcasts, click here.

And subscribe to "An Arm and a Leg" on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Pocket Casts, or wherever you listen to podcasts.

Kaiser Health NewsThis article was reprinted from khn.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.

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