UPDATE: Lis Bech’s insurance was reinstated.
Original story below.
VERO BEACH, Florida – Lis Bech learned that her health insurance was dropped by the School District of Indian River County when she attempted to schedule her regular chemotherapy treatment for ovarian cancer.
Bech, whose been an educator in our public schools for 19 years, and other employees were warned that Hurricane Matthew had delayed open enrollment data entry.
The award-winning art teacher tried to call the benefits department, but no one would take her call. They told her in an email that she was no longer on the district insurance. They also told her that it was her fault because she filled out the form incorrectly.
Bech thinks the School District is trying to drop her because she’s “very expensive right now,” she told VeroNews. One of the required drugs she’s taking is $9,000 each time.
The School District is self-insured and recently sent out an email informing employees everyone had to enroll all over again. The notice provided no further explanation.
Employees could sign up at the administration office, which turned people away who had been waiting in line for hours, or they could fill out the forms online.
Bech can’t stand for hours, so she opted to complete the forms online. She said there was no way to know if an employee had filled out the form wrong. She said the benefits department is very understaffed, and no one had the time to notify employees who were in jeopardy.
Bech said teacher morale is very low and people are retiring in droves or switching jobs. Bech’s daughter is worried because this is a matter of life and death for her mother.
The Indian River County educator has stage-four ovarian cancer. It will never go away, and it will be an ongoing battle until she goes into hospice care.
Fortunately, Bech’s oncologist has agreed to continue the chemotherapy treatments, even if her insurance is dropped; however her prescriptions and other medical costs are also cost-prohibitive.
Bech took a day off from work to straighten out the problem but ran into obstacles.
The district is not responding to questions about Bech because it is a personal issue.
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