ATLANTA — A law enforcement officer who has spent his whole life helping others says he needs help now to get his wife the care she needs.
Jack Redlinger was an officer with the Atlanta Police Department for 20 years before he retired.
As part of his service, he and his wife are able to stay on the city’s health insurance plan and keep paying into it. Now, he says the city is refusing to step in when he and his wife need their help.
"I've been married to her for 32 years. I know my wife better than anybody," he said.
Jack Redlinger says his wife Michelle is the best person he knows.
"She's easy to get along with, she loves everybody," he said.
She runs a successful business, raised two daughters, and has always been independent, he added. It's her current condition that's drawing concern.
"I'm not used to seeing my wife like this," he said.
Michelle caught COVID-19 at the end of December and spent 45 days in the hospital.
When she was finally released, Jack wanted her to go to an acute rehab facility but says their insurance insisted she go to a nursing home instead.
"She's been there just laying in a bed for three weeks, accomplishing absolutely nothing and she's just deteriorating," he said.
They have health insurance through the City of Atlanta from Jack's service with APD. The Redlingers kept that insurance even after he retired and took on a new job. After paying into the insurance all these years, they've yet to help him deal with his wife's post-COVID diagnosis, he said.
"When they need you, they need you, but when you're done they just discard you and you're gone," he said.
Jack said the city told him it would review Michelle's claim weeks ago but it hasn't been addressed.
"He said, 'send me the paperwork,'" he said. "I sent him all the letters from the hospital, saying she needs acute rehab, the insurance letter, Blue Cross Blue Shield letter."
Jack said he sent over a list of documents, but now he says he can't get a callback.
"The money is more important than my wife living I guess, I don't know. It's very disheartening to sit here and watch my wife," he said. "It's hard. It's hard to go there, it's hard to go see her, but when I'm there I don't want to leave."
A spokesperson for the city of Atlanta told 11Alive they couldn't comment on the manner, issuing the statement below:
"Although this is a matter between the Redlingers and the insurance provider, the City has attempted to assist with finding a resolution. Further comment would venture into medical matters which are private and not subject to public disclosure."
A spokesperson for Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield says they are looking into the claim but did not provide a timeline.