Arizona student who took on Aetna has died of colon cancer

2013-03-24T06:15:00Z 2013-03-24T09:07:21Z Arizona student who took on Aetna has died of colon cancerStephanie Innes Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
March 24, 2013 6:15 am  • 

Arijit Guha, who earned national attention for challenging Aetna over its health insurance policy for students, died Friday of colon cancer.

I spoke with Guha last year after the Supreme Court decision on the healthcare law. Guha had been eagerly anticipating the high court's positive decision on the law because its provisions included doing away with health insurance caps.

Guha, a graduate student at Arizona State University, was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2011 after complaining of excruciating stomach pain.

While Guha was paying $400 a month for a student health plan through Aetna, his coverage stopped when his medical bills reached $300,000 - the policy's cap. That left Guha with $118,000 in unpaid medical bills.

A very public twitter battle (Guha's handle was @Poop_Strong) with Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini resulted in his bill ultimately getting paid.

By that time Guha had already started his own fundraising campaign to cover his medical bills, called Poopstrong. He gave the money he'd already raised to cancer funds, including the University of Arizona's patient assistant fund.

And in January, all student health plans had to stop putting caps on their plans.

Guha's wife, Heather, announced his death on the Poop Strong Facebook page:
 
It is with the deepest sadness I have ever known that I share the following: Arijit Guha—the bravest, kindest, most compassionate man to grace this planet—died earlier today. He went peacefully, at home, surrounded by love and free from pain. He lived his life, even up to the very end, with warmth, humor, and positivity, and his boundless capacity for hope and love gives me strength. He will be greatly missed, but I know that his beauty, goodness, and desire to make the world a better place will continue on through all of the people and lives he has touched.

My heart is aching, but the pain is eased a bit knowing that he has the support of such an amazing community of people, so many of whom have never met him. I thank you all, from the bottom of my heart, for all you have done for him. He is truly an inspiration (though he hated being told so), and I will be eternally grateful to have had him in my life, and to have been able to share him with all of you.

Love,
Heather
Arijit Guha turned to social media to help raise money for the treatment of his colon cancer.
 

 

 

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About this blog

Stephanie Innes brings you the latest health information. Contact her at sinnes@azstarnet.com

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