October 25, 2020

The Niche

Knoepfler lab stem cell blog

Eight simple reasons not to get an unlicensed stem cell treatment: reason 1 is lost health insurance

stem cell health insurancePatients ask me all the time about stem cell treatments. Some are curious. Some have already had treatments. Others are very seriously considering a treatment, but haven’t done so yet. Some are open-minded. Some are not. Some are angry with me for my track record of criticizing for-profit, unlicensed clinics offering stem cell treatments.

In this new blog series, I’m going to go step by step through 8 reasons why I would not recommend that patients get unlicensed stem cell treatments from clinics.

Today’s post, Part 1, focuses on insurance.

Obama won the election and Obamacare was approved of by the Supreme Court so it would seem it is here to stay. I’m happy about that. It increases the number of people who have health insurance. However, of course, insurance companies won’t necessarily cover everything or everyone. In addition, the decisions that patients make also influences how protected they are from disaster via health-related expenses.

What many patients may not realize is that choosing to get an unlicensed stem cell treatment can have profound, negative implications for one’s health insurance.

If you choose to get an experimental stem cell treatment from an unlicensed clinic, you have basically handed your insurance company an iron clad excuse not to cover many different health-related issues that might come up for you after that. For example, if you have the misfortune of getting an infection from the stem cell treatment that lands you in the hospital, your insurance company will not cover the costs that could go easily go into the hundreds of thousands of dollars. The same is true for the kind of autoimmune reactions that some patients have had after adult stem cell treatments. If they land you in the hospital even for just several days, the bill may be sky high and your insurance company will just say “sorry, you are on your own”.

Even if the health-related problem you have after your stem cell treatment was, in your opinion and may even in the opinion of the doctor who administered the treatment, not a direct result of the transplant, your insurer may believe otherwise and deny you coverage.

For example, if a few years down the road you get cancer, the insurance company may claim it was due to the stem cell treatment and deny you coverage.

Think about it.

Stay tuned for part 2 of the series next week.

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