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Insurance changes required by health care act help children

(Photo: V. LaCapra)
Ryan Patrick and his parents Wade and Amy.

By Véronique LaCapra, St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis – The first major changes to insurance coverage under the new health care law went into effect on Thursday.

Young people can now stay on a family policy until age 26, and there are no more lifetime limits on coverage.

That means a lot to Danelle Humphreys of Elkville, Illinois, a small town about two hours southeast of St. Louis. Her three-year old son has hemophilia.

"The medication for my son is very expensive. A single dose is around a thousand dollars, and he may take several doses in a week, for the rest of his life," she said.

The new law also prevents insurance companies from denying coverage for children with pre-existing conditions, or cancelling someone's coverage if they get sick.

Some of the new provisions will benefit thirteen year-old Ryan Patrick of Glendale, Missouri, who has been critically ill all his life.

For Ryan's father, the changes mean he no longer has to worry about his son running out of coverage, or being denied insurance because of his health problems.

"To us it's a huge, huge, huge lift off of our shoulders of all the emotional drain that that puts on you, the financial drain that puts on you. We can't say enough about what it's going to help us with," Wade Patrick said at St. Louis Children's Hospital on Thursday.

Republican lawmakers have pledged to repeal the health care act.


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