Vomiting in a viral video is an unorthodox way of getting your insurance company to cover a medical treatment — but comedian Sandy Honig felt like she'd run out of other options.
After her insurance company Anthem denied coverage for a procedure, Honig, best known for her role as a writer and actor in the Adult Swim show Three Busy Debras, recorded herself hurling her guts up repeatedly outside an Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield office to appeal the decision, and then posted the video on YouTube.
The comedian said she needed treatment for gastroparesis, a condition that keeps the stomach from emptying properly. The disorder causes her to vomit "almost everything" she eats, she said.
One treatment option is a Botox injection in the pyloric sphincter, the muscle that connects the stomach to the small intestine. But, as is common in a country with no public healthcare system and insurance companies that notoriously DGAF about covering crucial treatment options, Honig said Anthem denied coverage of the procedure.
So instead, she attempted a different type of appeal. In her confrontation video, which has accrued more than 175,000 views on Twitter since being posted on Aug. 29, Honig turns up at the company’s Los Angeles headquarters on Burbank Boulevard in Woodland Hills and spews everywhere.
She is turned away because she doesn't have an employee badge, so she then proceeds to puke outside multiple times.
Honig, who has not yet responded to a request for comment, spoke to two people outside of the office and technicolor-yawned in the middle of each interaction.
"Nobody would take my letter, but they said I could mail it with any relevant documentation," she says in the video. She then throws up into the envelope.
The response to her activism, according to Honig, is that the LAPD arrived at her home for a wellness check, because, she said, Anthem called them.
"It was such a lovely surprise to get a visit from two men armed with guns and batons in my own home," she says in the video. "It's nice to know that even though you won't give me the healthcare I need, you still care."
A brief glimpse of the Jan. 19 police report Honig shared in the video contained the words "poss 5150" (a police term used to describe placing someone in an involuntary psychiatric hold) and "conducted a wellness check," as well as the phone number for the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health. The LAPD has not yet responded to a request for comment.
Anthem responded on Twitter by requesting an email from Honig so a representative could "look into this."
For a moment, it seemed like the public vomfest may have worked. In a follow-up tweet, Honig said someone from the company called and said they "feel awful" and are "looking into it."
Less than two hours later, she tweeted that a representative called back and once again explained why the company didn't think the procedure was medically necessary.
"i guess now is the time for me to admit it IS cosmetic," Honig joked, "I just turned 30 and want the inside of my stomach to look younger."
"Our clinical team has carefully reviewed her case and our medical policies, and the existing medical evidence does not support the treatment she is requesting for her condition," a spokesperson for Anthem told BuzzFeed News, also suggesting that Honig try to appeal the company's decision.