Oak Park’s dad takes to TikTok to fight $40,000 bill for cancer surgery


CHICAGO (CBS) – An Oak Park dad with cancer is fighting two battles: his health and his health insurance.

A claim for tumor removal surgery amounted to $40,000. That’s $40,000 for his part of the bill and the insurance wouldn’t budge.

CBS 2’s Lauren Victory explained the unusual way this patient repelled while taking TikTok.

His costly claims video had up to 69,000 views on Monday. His account is called “Aaron Won’t Shut Up” and he said he wanted to live up to his name.

He did not expect the response he received.

Aaron McManus has a mountain of medical mail that started piling up after he felt ill in June.

“To be honest, I assumed it was some kind of infection, and then they wanted me to go for a scan that day, so I did,” he said.

The result came in: renal cell carcinoma.

“‘You have cancer,'” he recalled being told. “‘Take care of this now. It’s a tumor the size of a soccer ball. You have to act.'”

McManus wasted no time. The scars from the operation he underwent a few weeks later are visible in a photo.

He left Gottlieb Hospital in Melrose Park with cautious optimism about the tumor.

“When they pulled it out, there were clear margins,” he said. “They didn’t see any signs of it spreading, so it was kind of like ‘Sounds good! “”

After one fight, the next battle started when her claim for surgery came.

Nearly $4,000 for room and board, $2,400 for the pharmacy, $5,800 for supplies. The list of expenses grew longer.

“‘Your liability is $40,000.’ What?” said McManus. “It’s a huge amount of money.”

He filed an appeal with his health insurance Anthem Blue Cross. But it was refused.

So he shared his story in a TikTok video filled with special effects.

@aaronwontshutup anthem refuses to pay for my kidney surgery, saying it wasnt medically necessary. It's a systemic problem. #healthcare #cancer #lgbtq #anthem #bcbs #corruption ♬ original sound - Aaron McManus

“I wasn’t about to mess with this cancer,” McManus said in the TikTok video. “I don’t want to die. My child needs me.”

“And then I got a phone call later that day when it hit about 50,000 people,” McManus said. “The person on the phone said, ‘We’ve only dealt with you all day. Hundreds of people had called. “”

Anthem Blue Cross actually referenced the TikTok video in a follow-up letter and considered their claim a second time.

The new conclusion: McManus’ estimated balance was not $40,000, but $61.

“Why do you have to go on TikTok?” said McManus. “Why does it take hundreds of phone calls? Why is this level of advocacy necessary?

McManus recently discovered that his cancer had spread to his lungs, but he is optimistic after researching innovative treatments. He hopes they are covered by insurance and he won’t need to make TikTok videos anymore.

A spokesperson for Anthem said inaccurate information from the suburban father’s doctor was to blame for the billing error.

The company statement read: “We are sorry this has caused stress at an already stressful time, and our care team continues to be in touch and work closely with Mr. McManus to guide him and help him. to help ensure he has access to the care, information and answers he needs. Due to incorrect details provided by his doctor, Mr McManus received a bill based on this inaccurate information. Once this error discovered during the appeals process, it was corrected and the bill in question was covered according to Mr. McManus’ benefits.”

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