Hilary Swank Is Suing SAG-AFTRA After Being Denied Coverage For Malignant Ovarian Cysts

Illustration for article titled Hilary Swank Is Suing SAG-AFTRA After Being Denied Coverage For Malignant Ovarian Cysts
Photo: Phillip Faraone / Stringer (Getty Images)

On Tuesday, Hilary Swank filed a lawsuit against SAG-AFTRA after the union’s healthcare plan denied coverage for the removal of her malignant ovarian cysts. Swank has suffered from recurrent malignant ovarian cysts since 2008, when her “left ovary was destroyed and removed during emergency surgery.” According to court documents, Swank is suing the SAG-AFTRA Health Plan Board of Trustees after they denied her insurance benefits for the treatment of ovarian cysts and endometriosis, allegedly citing an exclusion in the plan for “infertility treatment.”

“Despite Swank’s, and her board-certified doctors’, insistence that she was not seeking coverage for fertility treatment, but only for treatment for her ovarian cysts, the Trustees dug in their heels,” the documents read. “The Trustees repeatedly said that there was no medically necessary reason to treat or monitor ovarian cysts other than for ‘infertility treatment.’”


On Wednesday, the SAG-AFTRA Health Plan responded to Swank’s lawsuit, clarifying that they do cover the treatment of endometriosis and ovarian cysts, and claiming that an Independent Review Organization “reached the same conclusion as the Plan’s Trustees that the services were not medically necessary in this case.”

In an Instagram post about the lawsuit, Swank wrote:

I’m truly exhausted by the way women’s ovarian and cyclical health issues continue to be treated by healthcare insurance companies. I have experienced it in my own life, and I continually read about it across social media and in the press. Their policies are antiquated, barbaric and primarily view the role of women’s organs solely as a means for procreation.

My hope is to create change for all woman suffering from women’s health issues that have to battle with insurance companies who diminish the significance of their problems, don’t believe the patient (or their doctor’s) explanations surrounding their suffering, and severely preclude coverage to only incredibly limited services and procedures.

Read Swank’s entire Instagram caption here.

Freelance writer & night blogger at Jezebel. Lover of television, astrology, and sandwiches.



I am 1000% in support of Hilary here, but I wonder what treatment they denied. She had already had one ovary removed due to clinically diagnosed disease, why did they not rubber stamp the same thing for the other one and be done?

Unless there was some sort of off label or experimental treatment being requested, this seems like a really weird hill to die on and cause a lawsuit on the insurance companies behalf. A lap ovary removal is cheap in insurance cost terms.