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Crowdsourcing: In 24h Teenage Cancer Patient on Twitter Gets Insurance To Approve Transplant

Teenage Cancer Patient Taps Twitter Get Insurance Cover Transplant Crowdsourcing

Outraged by the insurance company’s denial to the life-saving treatment of their teenage daughter, a family tapped social media to complain. In 24h, teenage cancer patient on Twitter gets Blue Shield to approve transplant.

Teenage Cancer Patient Taps Twitter Get Insurance Cover Transplant Crowdsourcing

Lorelei Decker (@LoreleiDecker), 18, and her family were stunned when Blue Cross Blue Shield (@BCBSOK) considered stem cell transplant surgery as not medically necessary to treat her Hodgkin lymphoma.

She announced her decision to fight the call and the topic got trending throughout Oklahoma within a few hours. Her mother joined her battle by tweeting and re-tweeting hundreds of messages from well-wishers.

They started the hashtag #ApproveLorelei to appeal to the company. By Wednesday afternoon, the family learned the insurance had reversed its decision. According to Hilarie Huoghton of BCBS, a medical review process is performed to make sure members receive necessary and effective care.

She added that the company must adhere to the regulatory guidelines and plan certificates in making their decisions. The transplant treatment will start in Houston, Texas.

Although overjoyed by the situation, the family is calling for change against insurance companies that make life or death decisions. Lorelei praises the massive social media outcry with changing the BCBS insurance company’s decision.

#ApproveLorelei Hashtag

Hilarie Huoghton, Spokeswoman of Blue Cross Blue Shield Oklahoma: “The company must adhere to the plan certificates and regulatory guidelines that direct us regarding coverage decisions, determining what therapies are of proven efficacy, and evaluation of unusual therapies.”

Covered by my Visible Banking Team

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Years after the couple of high profile ‘David versus Golliath’ type of victories against HSBC (UK, 2007) and Bank of America (US, 2009) via social media by respectively a few thousands angry students and a customer, this is another example of the tremendous power of crowdsourcing.  

With these latest developments, do you believe insurance companies will be more and more at the mercy of social media users on the likes of Twitter and Facebook?

We invite you to share your thoughts about the impact of social media and the financial industry, here, via twitter or on our Facebook page.

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Written by Christophe Langlois

Based in London, Christophe is an entertaining social media keynote speaker and a trusted advisor to the global financial services industry on the topics of social media, social business and digital innovation.

Christophe has contributed to over 140 events in 18 countries.

Currently, Christophe is 'Social Media Senior Managing Consultant' at IBM Interactive Experience. He's also a Digital Advisor at the Financial Services Forum and the Moller Centre (part of the Churchill College in Cambridge).

Christophe's views on VisibleBanking.com are his own, not necessarily his employer's.


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