New Brunswick

Sun Life rejects health coverage for 9-year-old due to his 'build'

Members of nine-year-old Alex Doiron's family in Shediac, N.B., say they're dumbfounded after the boy was rejected from their health insurance plan due to his "build," a decision now being re-examined following a CBC inquiry.

At 5-foot-2, Shediac, N.B., youngster weighs 135 pounds

Members of nine-year-old Alex Doiron's family in Shediac, N.B., say they're dumbfounded after the boy was rejected from their health insurance plan due to his "build," a decision now being re-examined following a CBC inquiry.

Doiron's family has been without health insurance since January.

At 5-foot-2, Alex weighs 135 pounds.

Alex Doiron is 5-foot-2 and weighs 135 pounds. The Shediac, N.B., boy's family was 'dumbfounded' after he was rejected for health insurance due to his 'build.' (Facebook)
His mother, Josée Doiron, says she is "outraged, hurt, disappointed and dumbfounded that this actually happened."

Last week, she received a letter from insurance provider Sun Life Financial stating, "After careful review, we regret that we are unable to offer coverage for Alex Doiron due to build."

The rest of her family had been approved.

"He's built pretty much like my husband and my husband had no problem getting coverage."

No health problems

Doiron said her son has no health problems other than mild asthma.

My family doctor and I have spoken about it several times and she says [his weight] is not a concern.- Josée   Doiron, mother of 9-year-old Alex

"My family doctor and I have spoken about it several times and she says [his weight] is not a concern."

She called Sun Life on Friday afternoon for more explanation.

According to Doiron, the representative she spoke with did not have any response other than, "I'm sorry."

Insured with Sun Life previously

Doiron said her family has been insured with Sun Life in the past without issue.

Josée Doiron said she was 'outraged' when health insurance coverage was denied for her son. (Submitted)
Their health insurance plan was purchased through her husband's workplace, but it was terminated when he was laid off in January.

Shortly after, Doiron applied for essentially the same coverage with Sun Life.

"I've been insured with Sun Life since 2006 under two different policies," she said, adding her son's size was not a recent development.

She's worried about the cost of dental work and glasses for her son and her six-year-old daughter.

"It is quite concerning for me as to how I'm going to maintain these without insurance," she said.

"It's at the point there where my parents, thankfully, are taking my children to the dentist at the end of the month because with children and the cost of dental care and everything else, I can't afford to pay it."

Sun Life 'reaching out'

Sun Life Financial told CBC that although the insurer cannot comment on the specifics of this case, officials are "actively looking into it and are reaching out to the family."

Doiron is considering switching insurance providers even if Sun Life does reverse the decision.

"It's something I would need to sit down and think about, if I would want a company like that representing me."

Following CBC's inquiry , Doiron said she was contacted by Lorraine Lambert, a Sun Life representative.

According to Doiron, Lambert told her the family's case was not handled correctly and Sun Life would be conducting a medical inquiry with the family doctor about Alex's health.

Depending on the results of the inquiry, he could be added to the family's plan.

Doiron said she was told the time it takes to resolve the case would depend on how quickly her family doctor provided Sun Life with the relevant medical documents.