After working for what is now AOL for 8 years as part of thier fiber optic upgrade as a QC tech in construction and eginering (saving them tons of money) my back and left leg suddenly became so painful I could barely fuction, let alone work. So I filed for thier short / long term employee disability program.
After being turned down, based on thier ignoring medical facts in many reports, tests, doctors and surgeons notes and letters, including statments such as, "definately a candidate for disability", "unable to work in any type of meaningful emploment", "the worst spine he (an orthopedic spine specialist) had ever seen on a 40 year old" and MRI's that show definate deterioation and colapse of four lumbar discs. I was not only denied disability benifits, but was terminated because of the denial.
They took statements such as doctors stating they could not determine one central pain generator (because there are five or more) to mean I had no pain. And due to the total damage and number of discs my surgeons did not want to do surgery because of the complications and damage a fusion that large would do to other healthy discs (if I only had one or two sites to fuse they would have done it). AOL stated that since there was no surgical solution, I had no problem. And surgeons statements that with current technologies and surgical limitations they had nothing further they could offer me, AOL also took to mean nothing needed to be done.
The one surgical proceedure that was recomended that would have burned at least two discs to try and distroy some of the nerves and give some stability to the discs, was denied by thier insurance (my back has further deteriorated to the point that I could not even have that done).
The worst, most unbielevable final reasoning was from a doctor they had review my case, 4 states away with out seeing me or MRI's, talked to one of my 9 doctors. AOL's doctor twisted the conversation around and stated things my doctor did not even say, badly enough that my doctor on his own wrote thier doctor corecting his major mistakes. It was based on that conversation that AOL's doctor determined that I had no problem, in fact he stated that my problem was "INORGANIC" meaning it was all in my head. In an internal letter from AOL's doctor to the disability administrator I got a copy of, thier doctor states that while he accepts the corrections my doctor made to thier conversation (on which he had based his denial) it did not change his determination.
How could they do all of this and get by with it? As I have found out, after meeting with 9 differnt law firms, I found out they are well protected by ERISA regulations since they are self insured. Because of this My states insurance commisioner, and attorney general have no control over them. The president of Hartford Ins.(the company who administers the disability claims) was going to look into my problem, until he was stped by the Hartford administator who dose not work for Hartford, but for AOL. In tring to get the surgical procedure that was denied, apealed thru UHC, I got no were because again, they are not UHC employees but AOL employees (why would they aprove a proceedure for something they say I don't have?).
I have found they one ERISA expert in the region, and according to him, as all other lawyers I have talked to, I have an excelent case. But with the protection of ERISA, arter he proves to them that I am intitaled to the disability insurance, all they must do is pay the amount they should have payed to start with, and I pay all legal fees my self with no rembusement. So they are out nothing, how many others have they done this too who just gave up?
What can you do? Contact your congress person, and have they correct ERISA regulations so that large companies can not hide behind it.
Drop aol a worthless internet provider and get some thing better. And if possible contribute to my legal fees, if this site alows contact to do so.
Lebanon, Ohio Click here to read other Rip Off Reports on AOL