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Hilary Swank filed a lawsuit against the SAG-AFTRA Health Plan Board of Trustees. What is going on exactly? Let's find out.

SAG-AFTRA is showing its sexist side: Hilary Swank isn’t having it

Hilary Swank is standing up for women’s health issues. Swank filed a lawsuit against the SAG-AFTRA Health Plan Board of Trustees after they denied healthcare coverage for treating her malignant ovarian cysts. Swank was diagnosed with ovarian cysts in 2008 but was denied by the SAG-AFTRA Health Plan in 2015. 

Now, Swank is going to court, believing the SAG-AFTRA Health Plan unfairly handled her case. Here’s everything to know about Swank and her lawsuit against SAG-AFTRA Health Plan. 

Difficult medical history

Swank was first diagnosed with recurring malignant ovarian cysts eleven years ago after emergency surgery, according to Jezebel. Her left ovary was destroyed & removed during the surgery. 

“It’s painful enough having to deal with the nature of a female health issue, let alone having to wrestle with the stress of trying to get your insurance company to provide the coverage and care that their contract explicitly states they offer”, Swank wrote in a statement on Instagram.

Problematic policies

Swank approached the SAG-AFTRA Health Plan for ovarian cyst treatment in 2015 but was denied insurance because there “was no medically necessary reason to treat or monitor ovarian cysts other than for ‘infertility treatment,’” according to court documents obtained by USA Today

At the time, Swank was also looking “to preserve her ability to conceive in the future”, according to People. However, Swank and her doctors emphasized she was only asking for coverage for her ovarian cysts, not for fertility. 

Due to her experiences with the Health Plan, Swank doesn’t believe SAG-AFTRA treats its members equally. Swank believes SAG-AFTRA Health Plan’s “policies are antiquated, barbaric, and primarily view the role of women’s organs solely as a means for procreation”.

SAG-AFTRA’s statement

SAG-AFTRA Health Plan’s representative Amanda Bernard told USA Today the plan “does cover diagnosis and treatment of endometriosis and ovarian cysts when medically necessary”. She also described an appeals process which includes a final review by an independent review board. 

According to the Health Plan, Swank’s case was looked over by the board, which “reached the same conclusion as the Plan’s Trustees that the services were not medically necessary in this case”, USA Today reported. 

Expensive healthcare for women

Swank said she came forward because she wants to “create change” for women, especially for women who weren’t believed by their insurance provider. Swank stated how she hopes “to be a voice” for women who don’t have the resources to afford healthcare for “simple female health issues”.

Swank explained how she saw firsthand how expensive her treatments were. For women without means to pay for healthcare, Swank thinks “they either financially deplete their resources, or they forgo the treatments, quietly suffering in pain and risking their lives”.

“It’s time we are treated fairly”, Swank concluded.

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