OKLAHOMA CITY - Hauli Gray is fighting for her life.
“Two days after I had the biopsy done, this was October, the doctor called me and said I had breast cancer,” Gray said.
Gray said she has been fighting the disease for almost a year and has already undergone multiple treatments and surgery.
“Not only did I lose a breast, that's a part of me, that's a part of me that's gone forever. And, it's trying to get over that. You almost want to feel shame because it was like you were whole and now you're not,” Gray said.
While the 34-year-old mother of two is fighting the cancer in her body, she is now also locked in a battle with her insurance company.
“Not only am I fighting breast cancer, fighting, you know, with my life right now, we're also in a fight with our insurance, Blue Cross Blue Shield,” Gray said.
Gray's doctors said they feel she only has one option for treatment: Proton Radiation Treatment.
Doctors who treat Gray said, because her cancer is so close to her heart, they fear traditional radiation would put her other organs in danger.
“It reduces her chances of living that long life that we're all hoping that she's going to have,” said Cecil Gray, Hauli's husband.
However, Blue Cross Blue Shield Oklahoma has already denied her claim for proton therapy twice.
"There are many different types of cancer, and treatments can vary in their efficacy. Proton beam therapy has been used to treat cancer for many years. BCBSOK continues to cover it as a therapy in certain instances; however, today, medical advancements have led to new therapies that are equally or more effective with fewer side effects. For some cancers, intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) and CyberKnife are standard, proven treatments. Like proton therapy, those treatments can minimize damage to healthy, surrounding normal tissue.
Every request for proton beam therapy received by BCBSOK is reviewed by a radiation oncologist, not affiliated with BCBSOK, who is trained in proton beam therapy. The reviewer’s decision is based solely on the unique medical evidence of each case, and there is no financial incentive for the reviewer to either approve or deny the request. The external reviewer makes the decision, and BCBSOK accepts the expert opinion rendered by this radiation oncologist. Likewise, appeals are reviewed by a different radiation oncologist to evaluate the case.
We help our members gain access to safe, appropriate and effective health care, backed by our dedication to evidence-based medicine," Blue Cross Blue Shield Oklahoma said in a statement.
Gray was supposed to start treatment six weeks after her surgery. Her doctor said each day that passes by puts her at more of a risk. If the claim is denied again, Gray's doctor's are ready to preform traditional radiation treatment.