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Manjunath Kalmani tragedy – health insurance problems for unemployed (H1-B) immigrants

Update on March 09’2008 — you tube video posted

Manjunath Kalmani
Manjunath writes in his blog description : “My only means of communication is laptop. I operate my computer using sip n puff mouth control device. I use morse code to interpreter with my computer. I was a software developer prior to my accident, so operating the computer is not such a difficult task to me.”

Manjunath Kalmani’s tragic accident reminds us how important is health insurance for immigrants. He is an immigrant who came to US on H1-B visa and worked with company as software developer and got laid off during economic downturn in 2002. Unemployed and uninsured Manjunath injured his spinal cord critically in car accident at Nashville, TN, in April 2002.
His problems complicated with expensive medical costs in US and is finally sent back in air ambulance to India on March 5′ 2008. Manjunath’s blog address is ( and it was reported in news that he blogged and interacted with computers in vegetative state using sip-n-puff devices.

Here is some information I was able to pull out on sip-n-puff devices for critically injured persons like Manjunath.

Axistive reports on sip-n-puff devices

Accessing the computer other than via a standard keyboard and mouse can present a number of problems. However the IntegraMouse® is a highly attractive solution for a large range of challenges. The IntegraMouse® is especially designed for users who are unable to operate a mouse with their hands.

IntegraMouse® has all the functions of a standard mouse enabling the user to control all functions of the computer by lip movements. The IntegraMouse offers a sensitive sip and puff solution that controls the range of mouse clicks (left click, right click, double click, drag&drop).

This tragedy shows us the importance of health insurance to immigrants in US. Remember without health insurance you can not afford for expensive medical costs in U.S. You should always read full details about the health insurance coverage. Also you need to find out whether you should pay for insurance premium. This contribution totally depends up on the company’s health care benefits policy. Usually you pay 20 or 25 % of the premium every month.

It is better always to have some information handy like what is your co-payment for each visit.Some consulting companies may provide cheap insurance coverage which requires you to pay much higher out of pocket expenses. Make sure you don’t settle down for these kind of health coverage.Also health insurance should cover all your family members and that will require paying the insurance premium to your family members.

Also Health insurance covers maternity if you are married. Equally important is dental and vision insurances. Once laid off remember you can still have insurance using COBRA plan and it is kind of expensive until you find other job. For a immigrant living in US for many years all these seems to be simple tips only if they were correctly insured.

I sincerely hope Manjunath gets good medical attention from Indian authorities. It is glad to see TimesOfIndia picked this news and I hope other news sites/blogs pick up the story to get needed attention to Manjunath.

Sources :

1) Injured but spirit intact he started a blog on himself

2) US_sends_back_paralysed_techie_to_Delhi


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Posted By: Kalyan | Date: March 8, 2008 | Categories: H1B, Immigration
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