Former North Carolina Commissioner Ingram Fights Insurance Claim Denial

January 22, 2009

A former North Carolina insurance commissioner has appealed a decision by the state health insurance plan to deny his claim for about $15,000 in transportation expenses.

Former commissioner John Ingram, 79, traveled from his home in Myrtle Beach, S.C., to Duke Medical Center for treatment of an infected hip and heart problems. The News & Observer of Raleigh reported.

Ingram, who was insurance commissioner from 1973 until 1985, said the only surgeon who could repair his hip was at Duke. He said he needed special transportation to Durham because of his health problems.

A letter to Ingram said the plan didn’t pay transportation expenses. Ingram said the plan is wrong to deny the coverage.

“If I hadn’t been able to pay for the transportation myself I’d be dead by now,” Ingram said.

Health plan spokeswoman Linda McCrudden said officials couldn’t comment on Ingram’s case because of confidentiality laws.

Ingram’s health issues started with hip surgery in 2005 near his home, but the hip became infected and led to a stroke and heart attack, the newspaper said. Ingram said the only doctor who could care for his multiple problems was at Duke and he needed transportation for several months.

The surgery was a success, Ingram said, and he gets around with a cane and a motorized scooter.

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