June 15, 2024

Maple Ridge’s Toby Cleary was denied insurance coverage for ‘final hope’ medical trial as a result of he forgot to reveal an ER go to almost two years earlier than his analysis.

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A Maple Ridge man battling Stage 4 most cancers is shedding hope after being denied well being protection by Canada’s largest insurer, Manulife — all as a result of he forgot to reveal a go to to the emergency room almost two years earlier than his analysis.

“It’s completely devastating,” mentioned Toby Cleary, a 54-year-old contractor. “They cancelled not solely the profit I hoped to have the ability to use to pay for medical trials within the U.S. however my total well being plan.”

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Manulife rescinded the plan final month following Cleary’s software for a $25,000 important sickness profit. The corporate mentioned its refusal was as a result of Cleary didn’t disclose a go to to Maple Ridge Hospital on Oct. 11, 2019.

“I had gone to the toilet, noticed blood in the bathroom and panicked, considering I used to be going to die,” recalled Cleary. “As soon as the ER physician examined me there, he chuckled and advised me: ‘You’re completely nice, you’ve simply bought a hemorrhoid’ and despatched me residence. So it fully slipped my thoughts.”

However in Manulife’s rejection letter, the corporate mentioned Cleary signed an settlement that he needed to disclose “any sickness, dysfunction, damage, operation or therapy,” and that failing to incorporate a document of the ER go to meant the insurer was “not given medical data essential to correctly underwrite your coverage.”

Manulife mentioned it wouldn’t have issued Cleary the plan “with out understanding the reason for the bleed,” which was not documented by the ER physician in his document of the go to.

The corporate’s six-month-long evaluation course of has left the husband and father, who’s now housebound as a result of his colorectal most cancers, struggling to seek out one other solution to cowl the price of therapy.

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“Chemotherapy hasn’t been working in addition to my medical doctors had hoped,” he mentioned. “The kind of most cancers I’ve is so aggressive that it returned inside three months after being eliminated in full by surgeons final December.”

The household has began a GoFundMe web page in hopes of developing with a method to discover different therapy choices, most of which exist exterior Canada.

Cleary is on the waitlist for 2 medical trials in Seattle. One trial targets a selected genetic tumour mutation utilizing surgical procedure. The opposite trial entails immunotherapy, which prices $97,000 US. Each choices require full cost upfront.

Whereas Manulife mentioned it couldn’t focus on particulars of particular circumstances as a result of buyer privateness, spokesperson Emily Vear advised Postmedia, “When somebody is making use of for all times insurance coverage, important sickness insurance coverage, or incapacity insurance coverage, we do require that any medical therapy acquired — previous to and through the software course of — be disclosed.”

“Failing to take action is in violation of the phrases set out within the coverage,” Vear mentioned in an e-mail.

Dr. Pardeep Dhillon, Cleary’s major care doctor, contested Manulife’s determination in a letter addressed to the corporate in late August.

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The Pitt Meadows physician attributed the 2019 hospital go to to an remoted well being occasion, and {that a} colonoscopy referral the ER physician made by no means reached her desk.

“There have been no different signs current on the time and that rectal bleeding most probably was not associated to his colorectal most cancers analysis as it’s fairly uncommon for an individual to have only one episode of bleeding in a interval of almost two years if there may be underlying colorectal most cancers,” mentioned Dhillon.

The doctor confirmed that Cleary confirmed no signs referring to his present analysis till shut to 2 years later, in October 2021.

“Previous to that, (the) affected person by no means offered to my workplace with any rectal bleeding, belly ache, weight reduction, or change in bowel behavior.”

Toby Cleary is presently battling Stage 4 colon most cancers. Picture by Ashleigh Wells

Cleary’s spouse, Danielle Raymond, mentioned she feels betrayed by Manulife and is frightened for different households who buy medical insurance and change into unexpectedly unwell.

“Toby had been fully wholesome for years earlier than most cancers. Once we took out insurance coverage we did so in good religion, hoping that we’d by no means want to make use of it, however trusting that if we did our insurance coverage supplier would cowl us,” mentioned the 39-year-old, who’s now her husband’s major caregiver.

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“Insurance coverage corporations ought to be capable of defend themselves from individuals performing in unhealthy religion — who’re hiding well being situations and taking out insurance coverage — however what they shouldn’t be capable of do is to make use of their entry to somebody’s medical data to scour them endlessly to spin a story that bears no resemblance to what has occurred.”

Cleary mentioned after submitting an attraction to Manulife after its preliminary determination to evaluation the coverage in mid-June, he acquired a number of cellphone calls from firm underwriters.

“They have been accusing me of all of this stuff, like going to Pentiction for a physician’s appointment in 2017, however I’ve by no means been there in my life,” Cleary mentioned.

“We discovered it was as a result of a physician who despatched Toby for an X-ray after he damage his neck kayaking had moved to Pentiction, taking these medical data with him,” his spouse added.

“It appears like Manulife was in search of one thing to point that Toby had been sick all this time.”

The corporate’s determination got here as a shock to Cleary’s insurance coverage dealer, Christine Binder of Burnaby.

Binder mentioned she anticipated Cleary to be authorized for the important sickness profit like tons of of different purchasers of hers who initially forgot to reveal a well being go to or appointment.

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“That is one among two occasions in my 30 years on the job that I’ve seen an insurance coverage firm resolve to evaluation a declare as extensively as this. The choice was unlucky,” the dealer mentioned.

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