Battling Breast Cancer Again

(WSVN) - She beat breast cancer 14 years ago. Now she is battling another type of cancer again … and also battling an insurance company who will not pay for the insurance she was going to rely on. Why? Can Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser help her out? Let’s see…

Working with prematurely born babies is not just a job. For Bery de la Cruz, it’s a passion.

Bery de la Cruz, battling cancer and insurance: “I feel I’m a compassionate person, so I always empathize with people who are not feeling well or aren’t at their best.”

Bery can certainly relate to someone not being at their best.

In 2003, just after giving birth to her son, she was hit with breast cancer.

Bery de la Cruz: “I was diagnosed when my son was just six weeks old. I had chemo therapy, radiation and had a lumpectomy and then by the grace of God, I was cured.”

After being cancer-free for five years, Bery bought insurance in case something terrible happened to her again. At that time, the company knew she had cancer years earlier.

Bery de la Cruz: “It’s called critical illness insurance, so if you are diagnosed with a heart attack, stroke, loss of blindness, it will cover you, or cancer in my case.”

For 14 years, Bery was very healthy. And then … bad news again.

Bery de la Cruz: “A few months ago when I was re-diagnosed with breast cancer. It’s scary because you don’t know what your future is.”

Bery is back to chemotherapy and is unable to work as a nurse.

But she thought the critical care insurance she had been paying for would provide the $45,000 to pay her bills while she battled cancer again.

Bery de la Cruz: “But I was denied.”

The insurance company’s reason? She had a pre-existing condition when she took out the insurance policy. Not true Bery says.

Bery de la Cruz: “It says that a preexisting is if you are diagnosed 12 months prior to taking out the policy or 12 months after taking out the policy. In my case, it did not apply because I had breast cancer more than five years before taking it out and eight plus years after taking it out.”

Bery appealed. This time she says the insurance company was refusing to pay because she had the same type of breast cancer as 14 years ago. Again, not true Bery says…

Bery de la Cruz: “So my doctor provided documentation showing that my cancer is not the same as in 2003. In 2003, my cancer was not progesterone positive.”

Didn’t matter — the insurance company denied her appeal and refused to pay. Devastating since she can’t work while undergoing chemotherapy.

Bery de la Cruz: “I feel that the side effects of the chemotherapy this time are harder on my body. Maybe because of my age now. I’m older and I don’t have the distraction of excitement of the baby at that time.”

She is a wonderful lady, a tough lady trying to save her life. And trying to survive financially without that insurance money she paid for years to get.

Bery de la Cruz: “I would like for them to honor the policy. I would want them to be more compassionate because there must be other people just like me.”

Well Howard, a simple question — is Bery entitled to collect on her policy or not?

Howard Finkelstein, 7News legal expert: “The language in her policy is a little vague but the facts are in disputable and Bery should collect on the policy for two reasons. She was cancer-free for five years before she bought the policy, so it’s not a pre-existing condition and according to her cancer specialist, it’s a different type of breast cancer. Therefore, she gets paid.”

We contacted Allstate Benefits. They were nice and said they would look into this.

A few days later, we got a call back and were told they could not discuss any details, but they believed Bery was happy.

She was…

Bery de la Cruz: “They said at the end that it was the same cancer. But they went ahead and honored the policy and granted the $45,000 benefit.”

With money in her account and the Christmas holidays just behind her, Bery is ready for six more chemo sessions. But rather than fear them, she is encouraged by all she has going for her…

Bery de la Cruz: “I am grateful for my family. I am grateful for all of my friends, my co-workers.”

So positive, so thankful…

Bery de la Cruz: “But most importantly, God … and Help Me Howard for being so gracious to take my case. I am so grateful to all of you. The entire Help Me Howard team. God bless everyone of you.”

What a wonderful lady. We are so lucky to meet people like Bery. And good luck beating cancer again in 2018. I am sure you will…

CONTACT HELP ME HOWARD:
Email: helpmehoward@wsvn.com
Reporter: Patrick Fraser at pfraser@wsvn.com
Miami-Dade: 305-953-WSVN
Broward: 954-761-WSVN

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