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Wed., Sept. 28, 2011, 2:55 p.m.

Did the insurance company kill Paul?

Oliver Platt and Laura Linney play a separated husband and wife  in the series “The Big C.”
Oliver Platt and Laura Linney play a separated husband and wife in the series “The Big C.”

Any The Big C fans out there? Paul, the wife of the main character (who has terminal cancer) dies of a heart attack in the Showtime season ender, which aired Monday.

As a death and dying issues blogger, I love the series for its interesting take on the dying process. Paul battled his wife's insurance company all season over a scan they wouldn't cover. That stress surely contributed to his death (he might come back if it turns out to be a near-death experience only.)

If you've ever done phone battle with insurance companies or doctors' offices over disputed bills, you know what I mean by this unique stress.

I've been "in dialogue" with a health care provider's parent company for several months now over a bill they have misprocessed, despite all the documentation I've sent in.

One night, after receiving the same wrong bill yet again, I left angry messages on two company voicemails. I felt bad about my tone the next day, but it made me appreciate Paul's anger over a much bigger issue. That kind of helpless anger could lead to a heart attack and death, I have no doubt, especially if (as in Paul's case) you have other medical issues.

How have you solved a medical bill's insanity without going insane?

(S-R archive photo of  Oliver Platt, who plays Paul, with his series wife, Cathy, played by Laura Linney)

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