Couple says change in insurance caused deadly delay in cancer treatment

George and Renae Helden's insurance policy was discontinued in the middle of George's treatment for cancer. George does not have much time left. Credit: KMOV

ST. LOUIS, Mo. ( – A couple says they may soon have to say their final goodbyes because their insurance policy had to change which caused delays in receiving treatment for the husband's cancer.

George Helden is an oral surgeon. He says him and his wife, Renae, shared many happy memories.

But the couple says their life together will soon end. George says he has cancer and it is spreading aggressively.

The couple says doctors told them to make the most of their moments together.

George says doctors at Siteman Cancer Center had been hopeful that with additional treatments, he would have a lot more time.

He says he got one big procedure and needed another. But in between, they were told their insurance was changing.

Though they were paying for their insurance, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois, the insurance company told George all of his doctors were out of network, right in the middle of his treatment.

“Just very disheartening, just heart broken. I didn't think this would happen in our country. Without considering individual people and where they are in their treatments,” said Renae.

The couple says they eventually bought new insurance. But the meantime, a deadly delay.

“In my mind, my family's mind, we wasted some very valuable time,” said George.

Their story is eerily similar to another couple News 4 told you about in February. Their insurance, too, changed right in the middle of her treatment for breast cancer.

In their case, after calls from News 4, Blue Cross restored the couple's coverage saying they made a mistake.

Seeing that story, George and Renae wanted to speak out. They worry if it could happen to him, a medical professional, it could happen to others.

In their case, they say there is no way to reverse the damage done.

“We pretty much understand that there won't be much time left,” said Renae.

News 4 contacted Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois regarding George’s case. A spokesperson says they did not deny or delay coverage. They say they discontinued his plan and told him he could select one of their other plans or choose another insurer. But George says none of their plans worked, because they didn't include his doctors.

Copyright 2016 KMOV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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