Insurance Agency Stops Policy for Migrant Worker With Cancer

Ayalon Insurance Company: though case is unfortunate, the rejection of the policy's renewal was justified.

A foreign worker from the Philippines diagnosed with cancer was left uninsured ahead of medical treatment after her insurance company discontinued her policy.

The insurance company, Ayalon, says it will not renew Sacorro Palmes' policy because she had omitted the fact that she had undergone an operation for the removal of polyps in her health statement.

Palmes' policy expired in August, one year after she arrived in Israel as a caretaker. She was diagnosed with cancer before her policy expired.

After her diagnosis as a cancer patient, which took several months, she underwent surgery in a hospital to remove an internal tumor in her head. Her insurance company would not foot the bill for treatment, and Palmes turned to Physicians for Human Rights, a medical NGO whose volunteers arranged the operation. The cost was covered by the hospital, as the operation was classified as urgent.

Now Palmes requires radiotherapy, but Ayalon is still refusing to cover this. It remains unclear who will fund her treatments, which are said to be life-saving.

Palmes says she has no means of covering the treatment.

"Though her case is unfortunate, the rejection of the renewal of Ms. Palmes' insurance policy was justified according to our review of the case," a spokesperson for Ayalon told Haaretz. "Any responsible insurance agency would have acted the same way."

However, Dr. Iris Glok, an oncologist who examined Palmes at Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer, said medical tests showed the tumor that was removed from the patient's head was unconnected to any polyp removal procedure.

Palmes' employer, Einat Zilberberg of Einat Manpower for Caretaking, has demanded Ayalon pay for Palmes' treatment without delay. "The lady arrived healthy, has worked well and she had never been diagnosed in the Philippines for cancer," Zilberberg wrote.