CAMP MEEKER (CBS SF) — A Sonoma County man battling more than a dozen tumors in his body is fighting a new battle with his insurance carrier, who has denied coverage for his treatments.
Jeffrey Rusch of Camp Meeker knew the news was bad when an MRI found 20 tumors in his brain. Two days later, a C-T scan at Sutter medical center in Santa Rosa brought another devastating blow, discovering a large tumor in his lungs, and more in his liver and bones.
Doctors told Jeffrey he would need to be hospitalized immediately.
“My husband was having a lot of difficulty breathing already, and he was getting a lot worse, so we went to the hospital and they admitted him immediately,” Jeffrey’s wife Zoe Keating said.
In the hospital, doctors removed a half-liter of fluid from Jeffrey’s lungs, and gave him steroids to reduce brain swelling. Doctors administered emergency chemotherapy.
Then came even more devastating news: Anthem Blue Cross was denying their coverage for the treatments.
The family received a letter from the insurance provider, saying his hospital stay didn’t meet the criteria for medical necessity.
“It’s like an attack on my family. It feels that way,” Rusch said.
Jeffrey and Zoe have been Anthem members since 2008, and estimate they’ve paid $100-thousand in premiums.
“I would call saving my husband’s life medically necessary,” Zoe said.
Anthem was unable to comment on the case without a signed HIPAA release form from Rusch.