Izzy Benasso was playing a casual game of tennis with her father on a summer Saturday when she felt her knee pop. She had torn a meniscus, one of the friction-reducing pads in the knee, locking it in place at a 45-degree angle.
Although she suspected she had torn something, the 21-year-old senior at the University of Colorado in Boulder had to endure an anxious weekend in July 2019 until she could get an MRI that Monday.
"It was kind of emotional for her," said her father, Steve Benasso. "Just sitting there thinking about all the things she wasn't going to be able to do."
At the UCHealth Steadman Hawkins Clinic Denver, the MRI confirmed the tear, and she was scheduled for surgery on Thursday. Her father, who works in human resources, told her exactly what to ask the clinic regarding her insurance coverage.
Steve had double-checked that the hospital; the surgeon, Dr. James Genuario; and Genuario's clinic were in her Cigna health plan's network.
"We were pretty conscious going into it," he said.
Isabel met with Genuario's physician assistant on Wednesday, and the following day underwent a successful meniscus repair operation.
"I had already gotten a ski pass at that point," she said. "So that was depressing." But she was heartened to hear that with time and rehab she would get back to her active lifestyle.
Then the letter arrived, portending of bills to come.
The Patient: Izzy Benasso, a 21-year-old college student covered by her mother's Cigna health plan.