Valley Woman Says Insurer Didn’t Help Her During Cancer Battle

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WESLACO – A Weslaco woman’s cancer is at the center of a battle for coverage. She says her insurance company let her down.

Karla Olivares says her stomach started hurting last fall. She says those stomach pains turned out to be something more serious, cancer of the uterus.

"I honestly thought I was going to die. I was scared at first," Olivares tells CHANNEL 5 NEWS.  

She says cancer surgery was not on the budget plan, so she filed a claim with her life insurance company.

Olivares says she had a policy since 2015, let it expire in 2016 and restarted it in summer 2017. It calls for $15,000 in cancer coverage.

She called the insurer.

"I'm like, 'Ma'am, my doctor says if I don't get this insurance, cancer spreads really fast,'" she explains. "'And especially the type of cancer I have it can spread somewhere else. I could end up getting a tumor. I need to take it out.'"

She says the insurance company told her the claim was listed as an emergency and she would get the payment soon. But it didn't show up in time.

Olivares says since the surgery in December, she's called the company every week.

"'OK, you need information from ten years back.' Medical records from ten years back. So I sent all of that information and still nothing," she says. 

Olivares applied for Medicaid and had her surgery paid off. Now, she says she just wants her claim paid by her insurance company.

CHANNEL 5 NEWS reached out to Reliable Life Insurance. A spokesperson for Reliable Life tells us since Olivares' policy was expired until 2017, she has not held the policy for more than two years. This means she could only receive what she's paid for her cancer coverage.

Olivares says she plans to call the Texas Department of Insurance. She wants to get its opinion on her claim.

Texas Department of Insurance spokesperson Jerry Hagins says his group helps consumers having problems with their claims.

Hagins says if you have problems with an insurer, you should consider calling the Texas Department of Insurance Consumer Protection Division toll-free at 800-252-3439.

He says his agency also has a section with instructions for consumer complaints on its web page.

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