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Oklahoma man experiences delay receiving long-term disability for COVID

Posted at 3:28 PM, Apr 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-14 19:53:00-04

TULSA, Okla. — Every step he takes seems to take his breath away. Ever since he was stricken with COVID-19, Rodney Ivey said even the most simple things are an uphill battle like changing clothes, taking a shower, and even eating. Everything you take for granted when life is good.

"And then, all of the sudden, you have everything taken away from you, being my age, having my independence taken away," Ivey said.

But even worse, Ivey said just playing with his kids for a few minutes leaves him exhausted, gasping for breath. His legs, ankles, and feet are swollen, throbbing, and in agonizing pain.

"And my kids are young. I can't imagine leaving them," he said.

Ivey said COVID attacked him In the middle of November. By Thanksgiving Day, he couldn't breathe. He rushed to the hospital.

He stayed in a bed for a few days and then in the ICU for a month. His lungs were shutting down, and his prognosis was grim. His family was forced to make a decision no family ever wants to make.

"When they were deciding to put me on the vent, they called mom and dad and ex-wife to decide if they were going to put me on the vent, or just let me pass," Ivey said.

But he survived. Ivey said his doctor doesn't know how as he still suffers from rare complications from COVID.

"He told me only a few people go that long and survive," he said. "They honestly don't know what the next step is, what the long-term affect of it is."

So far, Ivey's recovery is nothing short of a miracle if you ask his mom.

"Prayers have got him through it, and we'll continue doing that," Ivey's mom said. "He must need help from people that don't listen to him."

Those people are the ones who've been reviewing his long-term disability claim for several weeks. While Ivey's health insurance has paid his nearly million and a half dollars of medical bills, he said he's had to fight to receive those disability benefits from Cigna, a worldwide health services organization.

Since he has not been working all these months, earning a paycheck has been impossible.

"I don't understand why it's taking so long," Ivey said. "I've faxed them all the hospital bills, and they're still deciding."

He has sold his car and most of everything else and moved in with his elderly parents. They're on Social Security and Ivey's savings are gone.

He has no choice but to keep paying his more than $750 a month health insurance premium as his months to recovery are uncertain but sure to be costly.

"They treat you like you're lying, but it's right here," Ivey said. "I don't get it. Why does it take three months for something I'm paying for."

The 2 Works for You Problem Solvers got in touch with Cigna and also New York Life which we found out took over Cigna's Group Life and disability insurance business in December.

Officials said they were looking into Ivey's claim. It wasn't long until he got the call he'd been waiting for.

They're sending the first check of about $2,700 for two months of benefits. Then, he will be getting a monthly check until he's able to return to work which Ivey said can't be soon enough.

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