Cancer Patient Tweets Aetna CEO, Gets Him to Cover 'Every Last Penny' of His Medical Expenses

Staring down the barrel of bankruptcy, an Arizona State University doctoral student with Stage 4 colon cancer who ran out of insurance money to cover his treatment decided he had nothing to lose by tweeting the CEO of his health insurance company and asking for help.

Much to Arijit Guha's surprise, Mark T. Bertolini not only responded, but by the end of their two-day conversation, the CEO of Aetna agreed to cover "every last penny" of his medical bills.

"The system is broken, and I am committed to fixing it," Bertolini tweeted last Friday.

Guha had been paying $400 a month for a fairly robust student health-insurance plan, but after being diagnosed with cancer last year, the 31-year-old's expenses quickly mounted, surpassing the plan's $300,000 lifetime cap.

According to ABC News, lifetime caps have been eliminated by the Affordable Healthcare Act, but Inside Higher Ed says the caps are still in effect for student plans.

"I am incredibly pleased and in shell shock and trying to figure out what just happened. It's a huge relief," Guha told ABCNews.com.

Though he can certainly use all the help he can get in paying off his massive medical tab, Guha has been hard at work raising money through his own website. His "Poop Strong" campaign — a play on Lance Armstrong's Livestrong wristband initiative — has raised over $120,000 according to ABC.

Guha's cancer is currently in remission, and, with Aetna covering the cost of his treatments for the rest of the year, the Arizona Republic says he plans on donating the funds he raised to cancer charities so they can benefit others in need.

[photo via @Poop_Strong]