Inside the battle to convince insurers that chronic fatigue syndrome is a legitimate illness

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Dr. Avindra Nath, a neurologist at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke examines Brian Vastag. Image credit: Beth Mazur
[Reporter Brian Vastag’s career] came to an end in July 2012, when he found himself afflicted by a mysterious and poorly understood illness that ended up sweeping away almost every vestige of his vigorous and productive life. To add insult to injury, he also had to endure a four-year battle with his insurance company to cover his disability claim for the condition he eventually learned was chronic fatigue syndrome.

But because there is no widely accepted diagnostic test for chronic fatigue syndrome [many] of the 1 million or more Americans who have it are ridiculed and dismissed as delusional.

Prudential refused to believe that Vastag could be so severely disabled, no matter what his doctors and other national experts on ME/CFS stated. With no alternative, Vastag retained two attorneys who specialize in disability issues [and sued Prudential.]

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[Judge Katharine] Hayden concluded that Prudential had wrongly denied Vastag’s benefits due to its “significant failure to understand the current state of medical knowledge about CFS and its devastating impact.”

Vastag’s win against Prudential is a hopeful sign that individuals with ME/CFS, many of whom have been turned down for disability benefits under similar arguments, might finally be gaining the respect, sympathy, and support they have always deserved.

Read full, original post: The medical community is changing its mind on chronic fatigue syndrome. Why aren’t insurers?

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