Hilary Swank is taking the Screen Actors Guild to court in the hope of changing how women’s health issues are dealt with by insurance companies.
According to a lawsuit the actor filed on Tuesday against the board of trustees of SAG-AFTRA’s health care plan, obtained by People, Swank alleges that she was denied coverage for the treatment of her ovarian cysts in 2015, around the same time she “was undergoing procedures to preserve her ability to conceive in the future.” The actor was diagnosed with cysts in 2008 after her “left ovary was destroyed and removed during emergency surgery.”
The suit states that the trustees repeatedly denied Swank’s insurance claims, “point[ing] to an exclusion in the Plan for ‘infertility treatment,’ relying on the notion that the only purpose of preserving the health of an ovary is to procreate.… The Trustees repeatedly said that there was no medically necessary reason to treat or monitor ovarian cysts other than for ‘infertility treatment.’”
The filing goes on to state, “This matter addresses the shockingly antiquated question of whether the sole purpose of a woman, specifically her ovaries, is to procreate. When faced with a claim for insurance benefits for medically necessary treatment of ovarian cysts and endometriosis, the Trustees answered ‘yes,’ determining that there could be no possible reason to treat those conditions other than for the purpose of trying to conceive.”
In a statement to People, Swank explained that she filed the suit because she was “truly exhausted by the way women’s ovarian and cyclical health issues continue to be treated by health-care insurance companies.” She continued, “I have experienced it in my own life, and I continually read about it across social media and in the press. Their policies are antiquated, barbaric, and primarily view the role of women’s organs solely as a means for procreation.
”My hope is to create change for all women suffering from women’s health issues that have to battle with insurance companies who diminish the significance of their problems, don’t believe the patient (or their doctor’s) explanations surrounding their suffering, and severely preclude coverage to only incredibly limited services and procedures,” Swank added. “My hope is to be a voice for them. SAG-AFTRA Health Plan claim they treat and protect all their members equally. I don’t believe this is true. If you’re a woman suffering from female health issues, I have no doubt you’ll agree with me. If you’re a man, ask your mother, your daughter, your sister, or a girlfriend. I already know the answer. I’m suing SAG-AFTRA Health Plan. It’s time we are treated fairly.”
SAG-AFTRA did not immediately respond to request for comment.
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