Greenville mom needs life-changing procedure; insurance denies coverage, so far

Posted at 7:07 PM, Oct 16, 2014
and last updated 2014-10-17 00:06:07-04

GREENVILLE, Mich. -- A Greenville mother of three is battling a rare, debilitating disease called chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy or CIDP.

It's a neurological disorder that impairs movement.

Lori Mills, 37, said she learned a stem cell transplant could be the life-changing answer she needs.

However, her insurance, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan denied coverage for the procedure. The denial letter calls the procedure 'experimental'.

So Mills' mom started a gofundme account, found here. She's has raised $9,640 so far.

Mills started experiencing the symptoms in 2011. She had "numb fingers, numb toes, numb tongue, and I noticed that they weren’t going away.”

When the autoimmune disease spread to the rest of her body, the Greenville resident started getting weak.

“I had no strength in my legs or my arms. Everything was really heavy. It was like really heavy to pick up a gallon of milk," Mills recalled.

She added, "I had a hard time walking up steps. I’d lose my balance and run into the wall all the time.”

Mills, a dental hygienist, hasn't been able to work since June 2014. Doctors diagnosed  her in 2012. It left her paralyzed more than once.

She's been receiving special treatments since the 2012 diagnosis. A nurse goes to Mills' home every nine days to issue steroids and IVIG treatments.

“It costs anywhere between $15,000 to $30,000 each time they come here," Mills said of the nurse's home visits.

She said she learned through Northwestern University about the stem cell transplant's effectiveness. Mills said the transplant costs $125,000 to start but would be a one-time, cost effective payment for her insurance company.

However, Blue Cross Blue Shield said 'clinical trials' under Mills' plan are only covered for an oncology diagnosis.

“I know how the insurance company works, and it just really makes me sad that they are willing to put my life  on hold, my quality of life right down the tubes while they’re just not willing to pay for it," Miller said.

Blue Cross Blue Shield told FOX 17 that the company does not comment on individual cases. The company would not answer general questions.