Insurance Error Nearly Kept Patient From Receiving Transplant

An insurance policy left one man worrying. He couldn't get the transplant he needed until Fact Finders stepped in.

Gilbert Zabala got a liver transplant after his insurance company changed its tune. “They said they made an error, but I'm not going to pursue that. I'm just happy I got my life back.”

The 61-year-old Californian came to Omaha’s Nebraska Medical Center for the transplant. But last month while waiting for a donor organ, United Health Insurance sent a cancellation warning if absent from his California residence for 90 consecutive days.

The Zabalas had a flight booked for a return to California and that's where they would have been when the liver became available in Omaha. After Fact Finders contacted United Health and the California Insurance Division, Gilbert's coverage continued so he stayed and received the liver transplant.

“My whole outlook on life has changed. I'm not the same man I was when I left California.”

Anxious days worrying about insurance and weeks waiting for a liver struck a chord. “I thank the family, whoever you are, thank you for the gift so I can live.” The liver was harvested from a 20-year-old. Gilbert doesn't know who the donor is.

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