Turn to Ted: Family waits months for cancer paperwork to be signed

LIVINGSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A daughter in Livingston desperately needed her mother to get into MD Anderson for cancer care.

But she tells us an insurance hang up was making for a long delay. She turned to Ted and now the real fight begins.

"Anybody knows melanoma. You need to get it early," Christie Gilmore said. "And I'm afraid it's not early anymore."

Late in the summer, Eloise Brewer, Christie's mother, thought she had two mosquito bites on her head. After they grew, her doctor diagnosed it as melanoma - skin cancer. She tells us her doctor couldn't find a surgeon on her insurance plan to refer her to.

"He did everything he could possibly do," Christie said.

Eloise's doctor recommended MD Anderson, but it wasn't on Eloise's insurance in-network provider list. Christie says she spent hours on the phone trying to get Cigna to sign and send back an out-of-network payment agreement.

"It's very hard to watch," Eloise said. "It's very hard to sit here and wait too just two and a half months I've been waiting."

Finally, a friend fed up with the wait called us. We called Cigna.

"The day before you contacted them, I was on the phone for two and a half hours. I got absolutely nowhere," Christie said.

Cigna HealthSpring, which manages Eloise's Medicare advantage plan, couldn't say much due to HIPAA concerns but told us they researched and approved their decision "as quickly as possible" and suggested it was actually done the day before we called.

Either way, the day after we asked Cigna to take a look, the signed agreement was at MD Anderson.

"Honestly, I don't think they sent it back until you contacted them," Christie said.

Getting here just won Eloise the right to fight cancer, now she and her family have to do the hard work.

"We're both scared to death of what we're going to hear because it's taken so long," Christie said.

A Cigna HealthSpring spokesperson told us, "We believe this request was handled properly and expediently - and with our customer's best interests in mind."

Eloise and her daughter are now concerned about costly out of network co-pay. They told us since the story was shot that a spot has also been found on Eloise's lung.

For the latest investigations, follow Ted on Facebook and Twitter.

Have a tip for Ted Oberg? A problem to solve? Get in touch with us on our tip page, or send a tip below. (On mobile? You can open our form by tapping here.)
Copyright © 2020 KTRK-TV. All Rights Reserved.