Salem veteran sues health insurance provider

The ongoing civil litigation between a 29-year-old man who grew up in Salem, Oregon and his insurance provider lands in a gray area of the insurance provider's coverage. The company's policy states that it will not pay for disability resulting from acts of war. Essentially, the center question to the case is whether or not the war in Iraq was officially ongoing when the man served.

The man is now suing the insurance provider for wrongful denial of coverage.

The man is a veteran of the Iraq war, and the insurance provider is unwilling to cover expenses brought on by conditions and ailments he suffered in the throes of war. The veteran contends that while he did suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of being stationed over in Iraq, it was not a byproduct of war as Iraq had formed its own government and was operating as a sovereign nation. This indicated that any sort of war was over.

The man served in Iraq for six months in 2003, but took a job with Bank of America in 2005 and obtained reserve status in 2006. As a reservist, he was sent back over to Iraq as a non-commissioned officer. His duty was to speak with Iraqi people and explain the benefits of aligning with U.S. forces.

He returned home in August of 2009 and experienced debilitating symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder in August of 2010. He took an unpaid medical leave from the bank and the bank's insurance provider refused to pay him short-term disability benefits for his condition. The veteran felt he was entitled to his weekly salary, which was $1,056.

He tried to return to work after exhausting his medical leave because he needed to generate income, but the symptoms of his condition forced him to resign.

The provider briefly budged on the decision, and issued him payments for two months, but then ceased. A representative for the insurance provider did not provide a comment about the ongoing litigation.

Source: The Oregonian, "When did the war in Iraq stop being a war? Oregon veteran sues over the question," Mike Francis, Feb. 18, 2012

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