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Carrier reverses Marine's insurance decision

Posted at 10:53 PM, May 05, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-06 18:41:56-04

INDIANAPOLIS -- Derek Miles could be back on the kidney transplant list as early as next Wednesday.

Miles, a disabled Marine, worked as a supervisor for Carrier for 13 years. But when he went on Social Security disability following an extended sick leave, Carrier fired him, per company policy.

Miles received the termination notice February 24. The letter read, "We received notice that you were recently awarded Social Security disability benefits, therefore, effective  February 29th your employment will be terminated."

Losing his job cost him his health insurance -- which then removed him from the transplant list, because Medicare only covers  80 percent of the procedure. Miles was not eligible to buy supplemental insurance because he was on dialysis and is not over the age of 65.

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Right now, the 65-year-old does at-home dialysis four times a day, seven days a week.

"It's hard than being a Marine, and the Marines is tough," Miles said.

Miles' son, who is in the U.S. Army now, requested a compassionate reassignment so he could be a living kidney donor for his father. But to do that, a surgery date needs to be set.

On March 23, IU Health sent Carrier a letter asking the company to re-consider its decision.

Call 6 Investigates reached out to IU Health about Miles' story. They said they're looking at a number of options, including coordinating with the VA hospital to cover some of Miles' expenses after the transplant.

Call 6 Investigates also reached out to Carrier the same day.

On May 3, the company told us that, due to HIPPA, it could not discuss Miles' health information.

But the next day, Miles sent Call 6 Investigates a text saying Carrier HR had reinstated his benefits.

A United Technologies executive issued a statement later that day about the decision:

"Our thoughts are with Mr. Miles and we will do everything we can to assist with this situation. His benefits have been reinstated and we have assigned him an experienced health advocate to help him navigate through the complex medical and insurance processes."

An IU Health spokesperson said late Friday that Miles will have to undergo a clinical evaluation on Monday. The soonest he could be placed back on the transplant list is May 11

FULL COVERAGE: TIMELINE: Carrier to ship 1,400 jobs from Indiana to Mexico |  Hogsett calls on Carrier to return $1.2M within 30 days Coats, Donnelly have 'disappointing' meeting with Carrier execs | IEDC responds to Sen. Donnelly's comments on Carrier |  Sen. Donnelly: Carrier never cited federal regulations as reason for move | Union president: 'We're not going away quietly' | Carrier employees protest move at statehouse| Pence on Carrier meeting: 'I don't want to create any false hope for people' Moving to Mexico: What you need to know about Monterrey, Mexico  | Moving to Mexico: On the ground in Monterrey, Mexico, where Carrier is moving  Trump weights in on Carrier relocation to Mexico  | Carrier: Company did not receive $5M in federal stimulus funds  | President of United Steelworkers Union: No hope of saving 1,400 jobs  | Carrier employees, local businesses reel after announcement of move to Mexico  | WATCH: Employees react to news that Carrier is moving from Indy to Mexico  | Pence to review Carrier's plans to move to Mexico  | TRUMP: Carrier should be taxed for their goods after move to Mexico  | Hogsett, Donnelly meet with Carrier workers  | City, state stepping in to help Carrier employees | Indiana leaders ask Carrier for a meeting to try to keep the plant, jobs in the state