Insurance company denies wheelchair for woman with muscular dystrophy

- Many of us had to deal with the red tape and bureaucracy of a health insurance company. A valley woman has been dealing with it for months, but says she is fighting for her mobility and her independence.

Sherry Somes' power wheelchair is 11 years old, and has been giving her problems for several months now.

"It has a disconnect in the wiring somewhere because I'll be going along and it just stops," she said.

Somes, who has muscular dystrophy, has spent more than eight months trying to get her insurance company to replace her power wheelchair. She says at first, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona said no, then they said yes. Then just last month -- a denial letter saying they will not replace her $15,000 wheelchair because she went out of network, which she says they told her to do.

This is frustrating for Somes, who says she's afraid to venture out of her unreliable chair that has stranded her before. So for the last several months, she's stayed in her Phoenix apartment.

"I miss going out with friends. I miss going to church.. miss going to bible study.. just having a normal life as normal as I can have because I've always been independent," she said.

Her message to Blue Cross Blue Shield -- the time, the months she has spent trying to get a reliable wheelchair, trying to get her independence back, is more precious than they can ever realize.

"Especially having a progressive disease, I don't want to be wasting my good years. These are your good years right and now weather is nice. I need to go out and do all the things I need to do."

We reached out to Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona, but have not heard back from them.

Somes says she will keep trying, but keeps getting different answers from Blue Cross Blue Shield as to why they won't approve a new wheelchair. One time she was told if she lived in Tucson, she would be approved.

A friend of Somes set up a Go Fund Me account as a plan B. Of the $15,000 cost of the chair, Somes will owe 20 percent.

Sherry Somes' power wheelchair fund
www.gofundme.com/power-wheelchair-fund


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