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A Young Cancer Patient Inspires Programs from Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota

May 1, 2018 Andrea Dinneen

Seven-year-old Chase Jones of Granville, North Dakota, has had an extraordinary year of hospitals, clinics, pokes, procedures and medicines. 

But through it all, this tough and resilient little guy has kept his bright smile beaming. That smile inspires everyone he meets, and the team at Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota is no exception.

Chase's story begins in 2016 with a period of puzzling illness and injury. Just after Halloween, Chase's mother, Marcie Jones, received a shocking phone call. 

A battery of tests indicated that Chase had a rare form of leukemia.

Treatment began that night. And for more than a year, Marcie and family crisscrossed the state for aggressive rounds of chemotherapy. An enormously talented team of doctors, nurses and specialists led Chase's battle against leukemia, but even with access to some of the finest health providers in the state, Chase's treatment became a full-time job for Marcie and her husband, Doug. After treatments, hospital visits, and family responsibilities, bills and insurance were the last things they wanted to think about.

"We're focusing on treatment, obviously, but we're also trying to coordinate the other kids at home, take care of animals and everything else…" said Marcie. "It's just a lot all at once. I would get those explanations of benefits (EOBs), look at them, and just put them in a box."

Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota realizes that members can be overwhelmed when fighting a major illness in the family. Our member advocate program assigns an insurance expert to help with claims processing, payments, and other insurance-related work—like out-of-network referrals.

Chase's member advocate, Kara Carpenter, closely followed his treatment, and she kept the paperwork moving while Marcie focused on being there for her son. 

"Kara is sweet," says Marcie. "She'll call and ask how Chase is doing, and many times she'll say something like ‘I noticed that you needed this one thing taken care of, so I took care of it.' I don't even have to worry about the insurance part!"

Kara also helps Marcie spend less time going through EOBs, organizing information so Marcie can quickly understand what's covered, and then get on with more important things. 

"She brought me a stack of everything—streamlined so we could understand it. Charges, insurance paid… It was really good to have that."

Today Chase is in remission, though treatment will continue for some time to keep him there. Marcie is grateful to have an advocate to alleviate some of the work as Chase keeps fighting. 

"It's a huge weight lifted off my shoulders," says Marcie.

 

R.L. 9.5