Fearless BCBSND Members Receive National Award

Marcie Jones and her son, Chase, stepped onto the stage in front of a national audience to receive the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association 2019 Faces of Fearless Award, an honor given to members who live fearlessly with some help from their health insurance provider.

The Jones’ journey to “Fearless” was not a path anyone would willingly choose. It began in 2016 when 7-year-old Chase experienced a period of puzzling illness and injuries.

“Just after Halloween, we received a shocking phone call,” recalls Marcie. “A battery of tests pointed to a rare form of leukemia called Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia Positive Philadelphia Chromosome.”

A trip for chemotherapy treatment began that night.


Travel, travel and more travel

For more than a year, the family crisscrossed the state for aggressive rounds of chemotherapy, specialist appointments and numerous complications from a weakened immune system. Today Chase is in remission, though keeping him there means treatment will continue for the foreseeable future.

Marcie and her husband, Doug, were overwhelmed. “Not long into Chase’s illness, managing his road to remission became a full-time job for us. Consumed with treatments, hospital visits, and responsibilities back home, medical bills and insurance were the last thing we wanted to think about.”


Help from behind the scenes

While Chase’s health care teams worked toward improving his prognosis, a team at Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota (BCBSND) helped Mom and Dad through the mountain of paperwork.

Just two weeks into Chase’s journey, the BCBSND Member Advocacy Program took note of Chase’s case and assigned an insurance expert to help with claims processing, payments and other insurance-related matters, like out-of-network referrals.

Marcie recalls, “Chase's BCBSND member advocate, Kara Carpenter, closely followed his treatment. She visited him in the hospital and brought us lunch so we could get away for a little bit. We never expected that kind of compassion from an insurance company.

Kara is sweet. Sometimes she’ll call just to inquire about how Chase is doing. Other times she'll say something like, 'I noticed such and such, so I took care of it.' We don't have to worry about scouring documents. She makes everything more understandable and helps us quickly discern what's covered, so we can focus on supporting our son.”

A different destination

Early in 2019, BCBSND introduced Marcie to the national BCBS Association award and she quickly submitted her story. It was one of just two nominations, nationwide, selected to receive the Faces of Fearless honor.

Through the entire experience, the tough and resilient Chase keeps his bright smile beaming. That smile inspires everyone he meets, and the team at Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota is no exception. They fell in love with him, and his mom says the feeling is mutual.

“We are grateful to have a BCBSND member advocate to alleviate some of the work as Chase keeps fighting,” she says.