Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Mary Casey, Victim

Cancer Patient Still Fighting Coventry
Florida Pharmacy Donates Prescription
KMBC-TV Kansas City

August 6, 2007
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A local cancer patient is suing her insurance company after it refused to pay for a drug doctors said could save her life.

Lawyers for Mary Casey are filing an injunction for breach of contract against Coventry Health Insurance of Kansas. Meanwhile, a Florida pharmacy is now providing Casey with a drug for which Coventry would not pay.

"When I got it, it was, like, 'Oh, that's what all this has been about. Now, finally,'" Casey told KMBC's Bev Chapman. Casey has adenoid cystic carcinoma, which is a rare form of cancer. Two doctors prescribed Tarceva, which retails for $4,000 a month.

Coventry refused to pay for the drug.

"They say it's experimental. It will always be experimental for my cancer because it is so rare," Casey said. But after Casey's story received national news attention, including on ABC's "Good Morning America," a family-owned pharmacy in Florida called producers at ABC.

"(They said,) 'We would like to give her the drug.' It was too good of an offer for Ben and me to turn down," Casey said. She said she and her husband have much to look forward to, including getting to know their first grandchild, who was born a few weeks ago.

In the meantime, lawyers donating their services are taking Coventry to court, saying the insurance company is "hiding behind contract language" to keep Casey from getting what she needs.

"I felt like I was fighting not only for me, but for other people who are in the same situation," Casey said.

Doctors first prescribed the drug for Casey seven months ago. With the help of the pharmacy, Casey has now been taking it for a week.

KMBC contacted Coventry about the injunction, but they did not respond.

Update: In June 2008 I spoke with a friend of Casey's who said that Casey's company's plan cancelled Coventry and subscribed to a plan that covers the necessary drugs. She is moving forward with her law suit.

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