Class-action lawsuit accuses HMSA of denying needed medical treatments
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A Hawaii Island mother is part of a lawsuit against HMSA accusing the health insurer of denying her coverage for a medication that could have prevented a premature birth.
Charlene Orcino has seven children and her latest pregnancy could be described as an emotional and terrifying experience.
In a news conference Monday, Orcino was joined by Dr. Frederick Nitta. During her pregnancy in late 2020, he prescribed Nifedipine to prevent high blood pressure and pre-term labor.
The lawsuit says HMSA denied coverage of the medicine.
Orcino eventually paid out of pocket for the drugs. But it was too late and her son, Jayson, who was born prematurely at 25 weeks and weighed just under 3 pounds.
“I’m taking it day by day and am just praying and hoping that he’s, I’m just thankful that he’s here, that’s all I can say,” Orcino said.
“I’m just thankful that he’s here because it could have gone the other way because when I was there it could have gone the other way.”
Attorney Ted Hong is representing Orcino.
“When you go to see your doctor and he or she recommends a test, a medical procedure or medication, you should be able to rely on his or her training or experience” Hong explained.
“But insurance company adjusters with little or no medical training are now telling us what tests what procedures and what medication we should get.”
Orcino’s son recently celebrated his first birthday and now weighs 23 pounds. He needs to fly to Oahu monthly for medical treatment.
Orcino is among several patients seeking damages.
The suit is being filed as a class-action and Hong is expecting other doctors and patients to join.
Hawaii News Now reached out to HMSA for a response to the accusations, but the company said it does not comment on pending litigation.
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