9/11 retirees struggling to get health care in Southwest Florida



Courageous women and men labored laborious to avoid wasting lives throughout the September, eleventh terror assaults.

However now, years later and retired residing in Southwest Florida, they’re having a tough time getting the well being care they want.

“I used to be at 9/11 as most of my mates and colleagues,” mentioned Invoice McMahon, a retired New York Police Division sergeant who has been residing in Southwest Florida for 10 years. “They mentioned the air was protected, clearly it wasn’t.”

McMahon mentioned there are about 700 NYPD retirees in Southwest Florida who want medical care, however some well being care suppliers, together with Lee Well being, don’t take their medical health insurance.

“There’s docs all over the place down right here. And we simply drive by and we are able to’t go in,” McMahon mentioned.

That’s the state of affairs Andrea DiNella is in. She retired from the New York Police Division.

“I used to be informed after serving for 25 years, I’d have well being take care of the remainder of my life,” DiNella mentioned.

Others like Eric Bergstrom, who retired from the NYPD, are in dire want.

“I developed, sadly, most cancers from 9/11. Prostate most cancers,” Bergstrom mentioned.

A distinguished most cancers middle in Tampa didn’t take Bergstrom’s medical health insurance so for remedies, he needed to drive to New York’s Sloan Kettering Memorial Hospital for care, Bergstrom mentioned.

His spouse, Theresa Bergstrom, additionally retired from the NYPD. In her case, a Punta Gorda neurologist canceled an appointment the evening earlier than.

“All of us had been strolling useless. And now we have now no well being care,” she mentioned.

Their supplier is Emblem Well being an insurance coverage firm based mostly in New York Metropolis. Many retirees say they selected Emblem Well being Insurance coverage as a result of it was the extra reasonably priced retirement bundle.

Once they retired in Florida Emblem Insurance coverage was accepted, however these contracts have since run out.

“We had docs. They had been taken away from us. Now we want docs. We’re previous. and we want care and we would like it as a result of that’s what we had been promised,” Theresa Bergstrom mentioned.

WINK Information requested Emblem if the corporate is making an attempt to resume these contracts, a spokesperson declined to remark, saying “We don’t touch upon any discussions or negotiations with suppliers.”

“We’ve been shedding our docs both to retirement, or they’re being taken over by the native corporations like Lee Well being, Millennium,” McMahon mentioned. “And due to that… then they not settle for our protection.”

The choice is to return to New York each time they should go to the physician.

However that’s not sensible.

“Touring forwards and backwards and the storms. I imply, it was brutal,” mentioned Joe Poliseno, a retired New York firefighter.

The World Commerce Heart Program affords medical monitoring and therapy, however these 9/11 retirees mentioned it takes extra time than they’ve.

DiNella is on a hard and fast revenue, she mentioned.

And 9/11 left her with a slew of points.

“I’ve to fly up for that as a result of I heard down right here, it’s laborious to get docs,” DiNella mentioned. “I’m type of like caught.”

To assist others in his state of affairs, McMahon created a Fb group for 9/11 retirees the place they will trade docs’ data.

“It was simply Florida at first after which it simply type of took off,” McMahon mentioned. “Subsequent factor you already know, South Carolina, Texas.”

Dinella mentioned there are such a lot of folks like her who don’t know what to do.

“This is sort of a dire state of affairs.”