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Army veteran and St. Louis police officer needs back surgery; denied by health insurance

"I can't play with them. I can't wrestle with them. I can't throw the ball with them. I just can't do those things. This gives me a chance to do that. At least, it gives me a solution going forward."

ST. LOUIS — He was a patriot, fighting in Iraq, then became a police officer. He has numerous awards and medals, but he’s also a dad.

He can't even play with his sons because his pain is so severe, pain he got serving his country and community.

Timothy Nolan has had back problems throughout his life. He has a degenerative condition. And he was used to a lot of physical work as an infantry team leader in Iraq, and most recently as a St. Louis police officer.

“You're wearing a lot of extra weight, and I made it a point of do the job,” said Nolan. “I would run chase try to get violent people off the street as best as I could."

Last September, Nolan was pursuing a suspect during a chase, and the pain in his back caught up to him.

"Started trying to build my core strength, started exercising, pushups, pull-ups, and it kept getting worse and worse,” he explained.

Nolan’s surgeon recommended a complicated back surgery. It’s called a 360 fusion. This week, Nolan got a letter from Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield denying the procedure.

“I didn’t know that an insurance company could say no to a procedure that the surgeon is recommending, because they are an insurance company," Nolan said.

Nolan’s surgeon even had a peer-review with the insurance company, where he sat down with one of its health professionals. Still, Anthem denied the procedure.

5 On Your Side reached out to Anthem. The health insurer explained that it cannot comment on a specific case without a signed HIPAA waiver.

Nolan said the worst part of it all is that he can’t do the things that he loves with his kids.

“I can't play with them. I can’t wrestle with them. I can’t throw the ball with them. I just can’t do those things. This gives me a chance to do that. At least, it gives me a solution going forward,” said Nolan.

He will be sending in an appeal to Anthem this week.

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