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Hilary Swank files federal lawsuit against actors' union health plan over coverage for ovarian cysts - healthyfrog

Hilary Swank files federal lawsuit against actors’ union health plan over coverage for ovarian cysts

Hilary Swank has filed a federal lawsuit against the actors’ union health plan to resume coverage of her treatment for recurrent malignant ovarian cysts.

The Oscar-winning actress filed her lawsuit Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles against the trustees of the SAG-AFTRA Health Plan over coverage for ovarian cysts that have afflicted her for more than 11 years, according to an article by Deadline.

Swank, 46, said in her lawsuit that she submitted claims starting in 2009 to the plan’s precursor, SAG Health Plan, for treatment of ovarian cysts.

Federal lawsuit: Hilary Swank, shown in March in Los Angeles, has filed a federal lawsuit against the actors’ union health plan to resume coverage of her treatment for recurrent malignant ovarian cysts

The trustees initially denied, but later agreed to cover treatment, according to her lawsuit.

‘However, in 2015, the Trustees reversed course and stopped allowing Swank’s claims for treatment of ovarian cysts. It also just so happened that around the same time as when the Trustees no longer agreed to allow Swank’s claims, Swank was undergoing procedures to preserve her ability to conceive in the future,’ the lawsuit said.

‘Seizing upon Swank’s choice to keep her options open, the Trustees pointed to an exclusion in the Plan for ”infertility treatment,” relying on the notion that the only purpose of preserving the health of an ovary is to procreate,’ the court papers said.

The lawsuit argued that the issue ‘addresses the shockingly antiquated question of whether the sole purpose of a woman, and specifically her ovaries, is to procreate. When faced with a claim for insurance benefits for the medically necessary treatment of ovarian cysts and endometriosis, the Trustees answered ”yes,” determining that there could be no possible reason to treat those conditions other than for the purpose of trying to conceive’.

Ovarian cysts: The Oscar-winning actress, shown in November 2018 in LA,  filed her lawsuit Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles against the trustees of the SAG-AFTRA Health Plan over coverage for ovarian cysts that have afflicted her for more than 11 years

Ovarian cysts: The Oscar-winning actress, shown in November 2018 in LA,  filed her lawsuit Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles against the trustees of the SAG-AFTRA Health Plan over coverage for ovarian cysts that have afflicted her for more than 11 years

Swank’s insurance industry attorney Kirk Pasich, of Los Angeles-based Pasich LLP, opened the lawsuit with a quote from Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, which is about women forced to reproduce.

‘As all historians know, the past is a great darkness, and filled with echoes,’ read the quote.

The lawsuit said that plan trustees ‘repeatedly said that there was no medically necessary reason to treat or monitor ovarian cysts other than for ”infertility treatment”.’

Cute couple: The 46-year-old actress is shown with husband Philip Schneider in August 2019 in Los Angeles

Cute couple: The 46-year-old actress is shown with husband Philip Schneider in August 2019 in Los Angeles

Swank in the lawsuit was seeking a court declaration that the health care plan trustees are required to pay for the requested treatment.

The lawsuit provided a timeline of her treatment starting with her diagnosis in 2008 with ovarian cysts.

‘Due to persistent ovarian cysts, Swank’s left ovary was destroyed and removed during emergency surgery in 2008. Since then, she has experienced recurrent cyst formation in her remaining ovary,’ the lawsuit said.

New series: Swank stars in the new Netflix series Away that premiered September 4 on the streaming service

New series: Swank stars in the new Netflix series Away that premiered September 4 on the streaming service

She also was suffering from endometriosis resulting in ‘pain and digestive issues,’ according to court papers.

‘Because of ovarian cysts and endometriosis, Swank suffers from extreme and debilitating degrees of acid reflux, pelvic pain throughout her lower abdomen, bloating, cramping, and fatigue, among other symptoms. Swank has and continues to receive treatment for ovarian cysts, including monitoring their growth and treating the cysts and endometrial tissue with ultrasounds, bloodwork, aspirations, and surgery as needed,’ the lawsuit stated.

Swank appealed the decision to revoke her coverage, according to the lawsuit, but it was denied after a consultant determined her treatments were for the purpose of monitoring and treating infertility. 

Coverage denied: The Oscar-winning actress, shown in November 2018 in Los Angeles, appealed the decision to revoke her coverage

Coverage denied: The Oscar-winning actress, shown in November 2018 in Los Angeles, appealed the decision to revoke her coverage

She then requested an external review of the decision to deny coverage in April, before filing her case after ‘having exhausted her administrative appeals, the lawsuit said.

Swank won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her portrayal of trans man Brandon Teena in the 1999 biopic Boys Don’t Cry.

She earned her second Oscar for Best Actress for playing aspiring boxer Maggie Fitzgerald in the 2004 sports drama Million Dollar Baby.

Top award: Swank won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her portrayal of trans man Brandon Teena in the 1999 biopic Boys Don't Cry, shown with Chloe Sevigny in a still

Top award: Swank won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her portrayal of trans man Brandon Teena in the 1999 biopic Boys Don’t Cry, shown with Chloe Sevigny in a still

Sports drama: The actress won her second Oscar for Best Actress in the 2004 sports drama Million Dollar Baby with Clint Eastwood

Sports drama: The actress won her second Oscar for Best Actress in the 2004 sports drama Million Dollar Baby with Clint Eastwood

Swank currently stars in the sci-fi series Away that premiered September 4 on Netflix.

The actress took a three-year acting hiatus to take care of her father Stephen after his 2014 lung transplant surgery.

Swank and entrepreneur Philip Schneider married in August 2018. 

Acting hiatus: The actress took a three-year acting hiatus to take care of her father Stephen after his 2014 lung transplant surgery, shown together on Instagram in June

Acting hiatus: The actress took a three-year acting hiatus to take care of her father Stephen after his 2014 lung transplant surgery, shown together on Instagram in June