Insurer Ails WebMD Director With Cancer

     (CN) – WebMD’s insurer has cut off a former executive whose battle with leukemia has involved amputations and more than 75 surgeries, he claims in federal court.
     Kevin Cameron lobbed the allegations Friday in a lawsuit against Life Insurance Co. of North America. WebMD is not a party to Cameron’s Manhattan action.
     A biography of Cameron on the company’s website notes that he came to WebMD through the company’s 2009 merger with HLTH Corp.
     Cameron served as HLTH’s chief executive officer from October 2004 until February 2008, “when he went on medical leave,” the biography states.
     He remains on WebMD’s board of directors, however, and has served as special adviser to WebMD’s chairman since November 2009.
     A resident of Fairfield County, Conn., Cameron says he has been a beneficiary under a group policy Life Insurance Co. of North America issued to WebMD Corp. in 2004.
     A diagnosis of acute myelogenous leukemia left Cameron unable to perform his CEO duties on Feb. 12, 2008, according to the complaint.
     Cameron says his battle has involved “more than 75 surgeries over the past 4.5 years, multiple skin grafts, deep, ulcerated and non-healing wounds and amputations.”
     Though Philadelphia-based Life Insurance Co. began paying Cameron monthly benefit payments on Aug. 21, 2008, that stopped on Aug. 21, 2010, when the policy’s definition of “disability” changed, according to the complaint.
     Cameron says the change meant that he would not be considered disabled so long as he could “perform the material duties of any occupation for which he was, or may reasonably become, qualified based on education, training or experience.”
     Though Life Insurance Co. kept paying Cameron full disability benefits for the next four years, it advised him that he was no longer eligible for said benefits on Sept. 18, 2014, according to the complaint.
     Yet Cameron now “continues to be disabled pursuant to the policy’s terms,” according to the complaint.
     “Mr. Cameron continues to be treated for eight remaining myelogenous leukemia sites and a rapidly growing and lethal spindle cell carcinoma which required a recent operation where Mr. Cameron’s physicians excised the tumor by a making a large incision stretching from the back of his ear, down the back of his neck and terminating in his shoulder,” the complaint continues.
     Cameron notes that a third-party vendor evaluated him last year ahead of Life Insurance Co.’s adverse benefit determination, and that this evaluation “confirmed Mr. Cameron’s dire and delicate medical status.”
     The specialist found that he was at risk for “falling due to ankle ankylosing,” “that his strength was limited by sclerosis,” that his knees and ankles were covered in “swelling and oozing wounds,” and that he suffered from peripheral neuropathies in his fingertips and feet, according to the complaint.
     Cameron says Life Insurance Co. called its specialist for “clarification” upon receiving her evaluation, and then lied to Cameron that the woman said he could work an eight-hour day.
     “To the contrary, [the specialist] advised defendant that: ‘Mr. Cameron is anxious to return to work but is limited by recurrent disease affecting his pain and endurance,'” according to the complaint. “‘He states he is limited to three hours per day sitting, standing and walking. He cannot travel on public transportation due to his compromised immune system.”
     When Cameron appealed the adverse benefit determination, Life Insurance replied on July 17 that it needed an extra 45 days to make a decision, according to the complaint.
     It allegedly sent a similar letter on Aug. 13.
     More than 100 days have now elapsed since Cameron submitted his appeal, he says.
     He alleges one count of breach of contract and demands a jury trial.
     Michail Hack of Schwartz Law in Garden City, N.Y., filed Cameron’s complaint.
     Life Insurance Co. has not returned a request for comment.

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