With movements like National Bank Transfer Day and Occupy Wall Street, we’ve long been aware of social media’s power to move the masses.Now, a small legion of social media users has helped convince Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina to cover a 12-year-old girl’s treatment for a rare auto-immune disorder, reports Stacy Davis of WRAL.
About six months ago, Ellen Whittington was diagnosed with autoimmune encephalitis, a rare disease that affects the brain and causes the loss of motor skills and memory.
But Blue Cross argued that the $60,000 treatment, which her doctor had used successfully with 25 other patients, was too investigational to warrant coverage.
When friends of Whittington heard Blue Cross wouldn’t cover the treatment she needed, they created a Facebook page to urge the insurer to reconsider along with a Twittion––an online petition created by Twitter users.
Her family challenged the decision in an appeal to North Carolina’s Department of Insurance, but before it was heard, Blue Cross Blue Shield relented.
Lew Borman from Blue Cross Blue Shield denies that their decision was affected by social media, telling BI, “Decisions are based on the facts of the case and medical history, not by external factors such as social media, public pressure, or high profile personality influences.
“I didn’t set out to harm Blue Cross Blue Shield in any way with this. I just wanted my daughter to get the treatment she needed,” Ellen’s father, Brian Whittington, told WRAL. “Not knowing if and when she was going to get treatment (and) not knowing how we were going to pay for it if Blue Cross Blue Shield didn’t come through, that was the hard part.”
When HSBC tried to quietly back out of a promise to give college grads a checking account with no overdraft fees, students quickly mobilized by making the “Stop The Great HSBC Graduate Rip Off’ Facebook page. The students ultimately got HSBC to stand by their promise.