A Woodland Hills woman and her sister are suing Health Net of California Inc., claiming the insurer cut off payments for their 75-year-old mother’s colon cancer chemotherapy treatments and caused her to die earlier than she otherwise would have.
Tamara Alenikov and Natasha Basley, who lives in Washington, D.C., filed the lawsuit Monday in Los Angeles Superior Court, seeking unspecified damages on allegations of wrongful death, elder abuse and negligent infliction of emotional distress.
Brad Keiffer, a representative for Woodland Hills-based Health Net, said today the company has not been served with the lawsuit and therefore he could not comment.
The plaintiffs’ mother, former civil engineer Alicin Basley, died last fall in Santa Monica.
“They will always be haunted by the thought that their mother could have lived longer had Health Net not interrupted her cancer treatments,” the suit states. “They will always have feelings of disdain and contempt for Health Net.”
According to the complaint, Alicin Basley was diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer in October 2012 and had a tumor surgically removed a month later. The cancer worsened to stage 4 in August 2013 and she began treatment at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, according to her daughters.
They say she first received chemotherapy in October 2013 and showed steady improvement in her health by the following spring.
Last summer, the state Department of Health Care Services transferred her care from her existing plan to one provided by Health Net, which knew of her condition and the increased risk to her health if her treatments were disrupted, the suit states.
However, Health Net immediately denied continued coverage, finding that the chemotherapy treatments were not medically necessary and that her doctor was not in the insurer’s provider network, according to the lawsuit.
“Alicin and her family were in shock,” the suit says, and the woman’s doctor was “dismayed and disgusted at his sudden loss of access to his patient.” He and the woman’s daughters tried to convince Health Net to change its denial to no avail, the suit states.
Alisin Basley was moved to a hospice in September and died a month later with her family beside her, the suit says.