Oklahoma man wins lawsuit against Aetna after wife dies of cancer

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“Here we are people in Oklahoma that just stood up to a big conglomerate Aetna,” said Ron Cunningham, sued Aetna.

It was a four year battle for Ron Cunningham and his insurance provider — Aetna. But the hardest fight was watching his wife, Orrana, battle stage four cancer. 

“It started prior to my wife passing away and finally today we got justice on our side,” said Cunningham. 

Justice to the tune of $25 million.

“I truly believe this opens the door that it allows people to understand in question the insurance companies where most people just give up,” said Cunningham. 

A jury found Aetna liable of reckless disregard when they denied Orrana’s claim for proton therapy treatment three times, despite request from her doctors. So desprete Ron mortgaged the family’s home to pay for the treatment out of pocket. While Orrana was getting better she got sick again — this time with a virus that spread to her brain – eventually killing her.

“If we can save one person and stop Aetna doing what they traditional do on every claim, it was worth the battle,” said Cunningham. 

The jury learned that proton coverage was under the Cunningham’s plan. At some point, Aetna stopped covering the treatment for those over 21. Attorneys also say the medical staff that denied the claims were unqualified and overworked. 

“I think that jury spoke loud in clear, that the people of Oklahoma County are not going to allow an insurance company to recklessly disregard the rights of a policy holder,” said Doug Terry, Ron’s attorney.

The Cunningham’s is glad it worked out in their favor.

“Hopefully, it helps people in the future when this stuff starts happening to them because like they said they’re not going to change anything that they do,” said Cunningham. 

Ron says his next step is lobbying lawmakers to pass legislation around proton therapy.
 

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