A well-traveled young lady inspires programs from Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota
Whatever you dream for your family, we want to help you achieve it. Even as it changes.
The team at Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota is inspired by members like Anna Jo, a very well-traveled young lady. In fact, she and her parents have visited dozens of U.S. states and Canada in their motor home. "We want her to live her best life," says her mom, Jennifer.
Yet these are not your usual road trips, since Anna Jo also happens to have an extremely rare disease (pontocerebellar hypoplasia type 6 [PCH6]), for which there is no cure.
She and her parents have inspired people throughout the country—and they inspire the team at Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota.
Anna Jo's story has a quiet beginning. "When Anna Jo was born," Jennifer recalls, "we didn't know there was anything wrong with her."
Then at eight weeks of age, little Anna Jo had a seizure. Things weren't so quiet then. "The first nine months, we were in the hospital every other month," Jennifer says. Finally, she was diagnosed with PCH6.
Her dad, Royce, remembers: "When we got the diagnosis, it was heartbreaking."
As with other members we see facing medical situations, Jennifer and Royce went through a period of mourning for the life they imagined for Anna Jo and realized their worlds had totally changed.
"We've spent many hours making life and death decisions for her," Royce says. "With everything we've had, we always know that Blue Cross Blue Shield is there for us."
Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota realizes that members can be overwhelmed when fighting a major illness in the family. Our Member Advocacy Program assigns an insurance expert to help with claims processing, payments and other insurance-related work—like out-of-network referrals.
Anna Jo's member advocate, Kara Carpenter, keeps the paperwork moving for home health care equipment and other needs.
"It's nice to have one person to go to who knows Anna Jo's history," Jennifer says. "Kara has even gone out of her way to contact providers to get claims processed correctly. That takes a lot off of my plate, because I do have a lot on my plate."
In part because there is no life expectancy range for people with PCH6, Jennifer and Royce did not want to be confined to home with Anna Jo. They pack in food, meds and clothes—and away they go.
"She's a great traveler," Royce explains, listing off many states the family has visited together. "She is a road warrior."
He adds: "To know that when we are on the road, when we have a problem, we're covered by Blue Cross Blue Shield on whatever trip is next and we're gonna be okay."
With smiles, darling Anna Jo's parents agree: "Anna Jo is writing her own story."
Thanks for inspiring us, Anna Jo, Jennifer and Royce.