Oh, You Have Breast Cancer? Have Fun Paying For ItOctober 31, 2011 1 Comment
Katie Evans is 26-year-old woman suffering from breast cancer. Even though her employers have a group plan for disability insurance, she is not qualified for long-term disability payments. “I didn’t think I was going to have to fight cancer — and then fight with this insurance company,” she says.
Katie found a lump in her breast three months before coverage kicked in and was told not to worry. She did not have cancer. But then, six months later, she received news that she did in fact have breast cancer and would need a mastectomy and chemotherapy. She assumed she would receive long-term disability insurance, but due to the lump being a “pre-existing condition,” she was denied coverage.
Blue Cross Medavie sent her a letter explaining that any treatment occurring within 6 months prior to coverage would be evidence of a “pre-exisiting condition.” But they told her it wasn’t cancer!
Over 9.6 million Canadians have long-term disability insurance through employers. Two-thirds have an “exclusion clause” for “pre-exisiting conditions.”
“They are devastated to hear that they have no coverage. Often it means they lose their homes. They have to downsize. It affects them profoundly,” said Scott Stanley, a Vancouver lawyer who sees cases like Katie’s often. He stated that even an employee suffering from high blood pressure before entering a new job and then has a stroke, the employee could be denied coverage due to the pre-existing condition of high blood pressure.
Luckily, Shoppers Drug Mart, Katie’s employer, is now dipping into a charitable fund through Shoppers Drug Mart WOMEN health program to give Evans financial support in recovery. At least her employers actually care.
Unfortunately, insurance and health care plans tend to suck. Maybe someday all treatments will be covered and the ability to recover properly will be a reality. Until then, people like Katie Evans will continue to suffer.
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