Jefferson County couple frustrated over cancer insurance policy

JEFFERSON CITY (WATE) – A Jefferson County couple is frustrated with a Nashville-based insurance company. The two took out a cancer insurance policy 35 years ago and haven’t needed it until now.

They say the company insisting on information the couple can’t be provide – an itemized bill.

Vietnam veteran Don King was diagnosed with cancer earlier this year by doctors at the Mountain Home VA Medical Center.

Surgery was performed there, but some incidental costs were not picked up by the VA. That’s where King and his wife were expecting their cancer insurance policy would come in to take up the slack.

Some of those bills were paid, but not all of them.

Former Marine Don King is 100 percent disabled after being exposed to Agent Orange in Vietnam. (source: Don King)
Former Marine Don King is 100 percent disabled after being exposed to Agent Orange in Vietnam. (source: Don King)

Several times a day, King takes a variety of prescription drugs for a host of serious medical problems: diabetes, post-traumatic stress disorder and most recently, colon cancer.

The former Marine assigned to a explosive ordinance disposal unit in Vietnam is 100 percent disabled after being exposed to Agent Orange.

He was admitted in late March to Mountain Home where doctors removed six inches of his colon.

While his physical recovery is coming along, King and his wife Mary are displeased with cancer insurance they had taken out more than 35 years ago.

"They paid me for the fact that I was in the hospital for those eight days, but after that, the rest of it, they're not going to pay us," said Don King.
“They paid me for the fact that I was in the hospital for those eight days, but after that, the rest of it, they’re not going to pay us,” said Don King.

“We never needed to use it until now and now we use it, we can’t get coverage,” said Mrs. King.

With two young children in April 1979, the couple, married for 48 years, bought an insurance policy with American General Life Insurance to cover expenses in case they ever got cancer.

“It was fairly cheap at the time. It was only $4.03 a month for a cancer policy, so we took one out on each of us,” said Mr. King.

Since Don King is a 100 percent disabled veteran, the vast majority of his medical expenses, nearly $62,000 were paid by the VA.

Some incidental expenses, amounting to $449, were to be picked up by their policy with American General.

The Kings say American General Life Insurance reimbursed them for over $400 in out-of-pocket expenses.

"After several months of arguing with them about the itemized bill I requested from the VA, the best they can provide me is this here which shows all of the codes," said Mary King.
“After several months of arguing with them about the itemized bill I requested from the VA, the best they can provide me is this here which shows all of the codes,” said Mary King.

Hospitalized for eight days, Mary King showed us over 200 pages of lab reports and hospital records, which they sent to American General.

However, Mr. and Mrs. King say American General is now insisting on an itemized bill, information they can’t provide.

“After several months of arguing with them about the itemized bill I requested from the VA, the best they can provide me is this here which shows all of the codes,” said Mrs. King.

She showed us the only information the VA could provide the couple and their insurance company for reimbursement.

“They paid me for the fact that I was in the hospital for those eight days, but after that, the rest of it, they’re not going to pay us,” said Mr. King.

King sent a letter to American General in May, explaining he’s a priority one veteran and no itemized bill for services is offered by the VA other than what the insurance company received.

“They’ve never indicated to me what an itemized bill was,” said Mrs. King.

In remarks for rejecting the Kings’ claim, American General says itemized billing information, procedure codes, diagnosis and services must be sent, but the Kings say they have forwarded all that information months ago.

“I want them to pay the full amount that they’re supposed to be paying. It doesn’t look like they’re going to,” said King.

American General Life Insurance sent a statement to WATE 6 On Your Side saying: “We want to let you know that we are contacting the Kings immediately to resolve this issue.”

That is terrific news for the couple. Previously, the Kings said they will continue paying their monthly fee so their cancer insurance remains in effect.

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