Bailey v. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Virginia (1994)
In 1994, the Eastern Virginia District court case Bailey v. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Virginia established that insurance companies could not deny coverage for experimental stem cell therapy treatments. The plaintiff, Mary Bailey, was diagnosed with advanced stage breast cancer and sought treatment involving high-dose chemotherapy and an advanced stem cell treatment, which was a novelty at the time. Stem cells are cells that have the potential to develop into several different types of cells in the body. The defendant was the health insurance company Blue Cross Blue Shield, which denied coverage for Bailey’s treatment. The district court sided with Bailey and ordered that BCBS could not deny coverage for her specific treatment. While Bailey v. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Virginia resulted in Bailey receiving compensation for her treatment, it also increased national awareness of stem cell therapy with chemotherapy.