“This broken insurance approval process is just cruel for people during the most vulnerable time in their lives. The stress and anxiety that came from navigating this process was an unnecessary burden when I was already dealing with so much.”
Last year, I had what seemed like a bad head cold that just wouldn’t go away. When my ear, nose and throat doctor ordered a head scan, I was stunned to learn I had a baseball-sized tumor in my brain.
I immediately met with a neurosurgeon, who scheduled surgery for the same week. While surgery successfully removed the majority of the tumor, my doctors found that the tumor was a a grade 2 astrocytoma and recommended radiation followed by chemotherapy to ensure that we beat this cancer.
As an Oklahoma City native, I was familiar with ProCure Proton Therapy Center and I had heard from neighbors about the targeted proton radiation treatment they provide. I decided to meet with an oncologist at ProCure to determine if proton therapy would be my best option. Given my age and the location of my tumor, he confirmed that I was a great candidate for proton therapy.
Shockingly, my insurer disagreed and denied my doctor’s request. I quickly learned that my situation was part of a larger trend of inappropriate delays and denials for proton therapy – but I was not going to give up so easily.
To avoid a delay in treatment, I committed to a personal payment plan while I began the appeals process. Like so many other cancer patients, I was forced to choose between this financial risk or significant risks to my health.
After two denials, I hired an attorney to help fight back. I don’t know if that was the magic bullet or not, but shortly after I involved a lawyer, my third appeal overturned the denial.
I’m still undergoing my chemotherapy treatment, but I am so grateful that this insurance ordeal is behind me. While I’m thankful for the outcome, this broken insurance approval process is just cruel for people during the most vulnerable time in their lives. The stress and anxiety that came from navigating this process was an unnecessary burden when I was already dealing with so much. Cancer patients shouldn’t have to put up with this – its’ time to fix this broken system once and for all.