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Insurance Company Fights Teenager's Need For New Wheelchair

CHICAGO (CBS)--A Chicago mom says she never expected to fight with her insurance company about getting a safe wheelchair for her son.

Keisheya Spencer's son has Cerebral palsy and has been using a wheelchair all of his life, but it's fallen into disrepair and he needs a new one.

Ice and snow make it particularly difficult to get around. Spencer's 19-year-old son, Keyshawn Griffin, has recently been counting on a donated scooter to get to and from school, but it limits his mobility at school.

"It's basically my life, so I have no other choice," Griffin said. "Other people can walk—and I can't."

Spencer's plan covered most of their health care needs until a few months ago when she started receiving pushback from her insurer, Blue Cross Blue Shield.

Spencer has been fighting to get the insurance company to pay for the wheelchair repairs for months.

"There's nothing to prevent him from falling," Spencer said.

Spencer believes she's getting the insurance company run around.

"This is private insurance—this is something I pay for," she said. "So it really upsets me that he can't get what he needs. And I pay my money to them every two weeks."

The claims submitted to repair or replace Keishawn's wheelchair were rejected, and the company requested cost comparisons.

So Spencer submitted a comparison, only to have the claim for a new chair denied based on the company's claim that the old one could be repaired.

In one letter, a spokesperson for Blue Cross Blue Shield stated a need for more physician information, which she attempted to get by phone.

But the rep called the phone wait time excessive, so she hung up after two minutes.

There's now an appeal process expected to last between 60 and 90 days.

Spencer's emotions took over when she thought about her son's struggles, which could worsen when snow covers the ground.

"Just trying to make sure he has what he needs so that he can do what he needs for himself," she said. "Those are his legs, and he can't get around without them, and I think it's so unfair," Spencer said as she fought back tears.

Despite having all of Spencer's information and an offer of a consent form, a Blue Cross Blue Shield spokesperson cited privacy concerns and refused to comment on her claims.

She'd only say the company is committed to helping members access quality, medically-necessary health care within plan benefits.










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