Delay and deny tactics of disability insurance companies, Good Morning America and attorney prompt Cigma to pay, Breast cancer victim struggled to supply info over and over again
“From ABC News Good Morning America April 25, 2008.”
GMA Gets Answers: Insurer Delays Long-Term Benefit Coverage
“To see Susan Kristoff relaxing near her home in West Palm Beach, it’s hard to imagine she has been fighting two very difficult battles.
One is against a potentially deadly form of breast cancer. Her other battle has been against her insurance company.”
“She was diagnosed with stage 4 metastatic breast cancer, and it was spreading throughout her body.
“It was awful, and I was extremely tired — limping, sharp pain,” Kristoff said.
Doctors said there was no way she could do her sales job anymore. The cancer had actually eaten holes through her hips. Her company had no other position to offer her, so Kristoff filed a claim for disability insurance.
Like millions of Americans, she paid a small amount each month — $20 in her case — to cover her financially should she be unable to work. One-third of Americans have some form of disability insurance.
For Kristoff, paying Cigna for disability insurance was the easy part. Collecting the insurance was a different story.
“It was a daily, eight-hour job just trying to fulfill the information that Cigna was requesting,” she said. “And it wasn’t once. It would be over and over again.”
But after five months of submitting forms, Cigna denied Kristoff’s claim for short-term disability. Cigna said she had not proven a disability. Sick and with bills piled up, Kristoff says she considered something drastic.
“If I wasn’t going to be getting better, I didn’t want to sink the rest of my family, so I spent two days in bed crying and thinking about suicide,” she said.
Instead Kristoff hired an attorney. In short order, Cigna reversed course and paid her short-term benefits. Then with her lawyer’s help, she applied for the much more important long-term help.”
“”The insurance companies understand that if they deny and deny claims, then many of the claimants will never pursue their claim,” Grisham said.”