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Monday, November 20, 2006

San Francisco Chronicle: Civilian Contractors Tell of Insurance Co. PTSD Denials

Very interesting piece from the San Francisco Chronicle:

Thompson was paid $1,850 a week while he was there -- far more than he had been earning before the war. 'And I'll tell you right now, it wasn't worth it,' he said. Thompson said he survived several roadside bombs, mortar and rocket attacks, and countless small-arms firefights as he transported supplies for U.S. troops along Iraq's perilous roads. He returned from Iraq without physical injuries.

But his war wounds are evident in the cocktail of prescription medications he takes every day -- for hostile behavior, hallucinations, depression, insomnia, anxiety, anxiety-related tics and spasms, and hypertension, all symptoms he says he developed during his time in Iraq.

Two doctors in North Carolina have independently diagnosed Thompson with post-traumatic stress disorder, a psychological ailment with symptoms that typically include anxiety, loss of sleep and flashbacks. The government has acknowledged that he is disabled, and he receives a $1,224 monthly Social Security payment. But Thompson says his claim for treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder was denied by American International Group Inc., or AIG, the insurance company for KBR, on the grounds that there was not enough medical evidence of his trauma.

Click on 'Article Link' below tags for more...


The [civilian contractors'] policy entitles the contract workers to reasonable and necessary health care for the rest of their lives, free access to an attorney, and weekly compensation for the time doctors' orders prevent them from working. But Gary Pitts, a Houston lawyer who represents more than 200 civilian contractors and their families with claims against AIG, said claims that involve post-traumatic stress are rarely honored.

"Generally, AIG doesn't pay for any PTSD treatment, and the reason is because PTSD is not like having a leg blown off," said Pitts, who represents Thompson and more than 30 other clients who have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. "It's a gray area."

A gray area?

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