B.C. man fundraising for cancer treatment after insurance slip-up

Click to play video: 'Cancer patient denied insurance coverage'
Cancer patient denied insurance coverage
A lower mainland family is trying to figure out where to turn after the husband's catastrophic insurance policy was cancelled. He's fighting late-stage colon cancer and he's been denied insurance benefits because he didn't disclose a hospital visit. Grace Ke has the story. – Dec 31, 2023

For the last couple of years, Toby Cleary has been undergoing chemotherapy.

He was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer just six months before he and his wife, Danielle, got married.

Toby applied for a $25,000 critical illness benefit through his insurer, Manulife, but was denied — all because he forgot to mention an emergency room visit four years ago.

“The doctor that I saw at the ER basically kinda laughed, chuckled at me and said, ‘you know what, there’s a little bit of blood in the toilet… I get 10 of these a day and everyone comes in here thinking that they are dying and they’re not,’” Cleary said.

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“He says, ‘you’re totally fine. don’t panic don’t freak out.’ It was a hemorrhoid.”

In a rejection letter, Manulife said Toby was required to disclose any illness, disorder, injury, operation or treatment when he was applying for the new policy, adding they wouldn’t have issued the new policy “without understanding the site and cause of the bleed.”

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“There’s no possible way I could have had cancer during that time and hid it. How could I have hid it from my doctors? How can I hide cancer for two years? It’s impossible and especially untreated,” Clearly told Global News.

His doctor also wrote a letter to Manulife about the 2019 ER visit adding that the bleeding “most likely was not related to his colorectal cancer diagnosis as it is quite unusual for a person to have just one episode of bleeding in a period of nearly two years if there is underlying colorectal cancer.”

Cleary, a former fitness instructor, has  exhausted the appeal process with Manulife.

“Some little tiny slip and we are being punished in a heartless way… just absolutely heartless. I can’t understand,” Cleary said

Cleary and his wife are now hoping to raise money for chemotherapy not fully covered in B.C .

People can donate to his online fundraiser.

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