The Sarkysian family made repeated appeals at news conferences for Cigna to approve a liver transplant for the 17-year-old, who had leukemia. Cigna initially declined to cover the operation, then reversed its decision.
Sarkysian died hours after the company's reversal.
The hospital got its wish this spring when House Democrats inserted that provision into their health-care reform bill -- only to see former Alaska governor Sarah Palin seize on it as she warned about "death panels" that would deny care to the elderly and the disabled. Despite widespread debunking, those warnings have led lawmakers to say they will drop the provision.
"It's really distressing," hospital official Bud Hammes said. "These things need to be addressed."