Peace of Mind in Knowing Sick Child Won’t be Denied Health Coverage

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Watch Alycia and Avey's story here:

As Alycia Steinberg of Towson, MD, tells us, when a child is seriously ill, a parent shouldn’t have to worry that an insurer would deny coverage due to the child’s pre-existing condition.

That is why she’s grateful that the Affordable Care Act protects her daughter Avey’s health insurance coverage because it bars insurance companies from denying coverage to children based on pre-existing conditions.  “To have a child with cancer, there is so much to worry about, but the Affordable Care Act means that I don’t have to worry that Avey will be denied treatment because of her pre-existing condition,” Alycia says.

At 2-years-old, Avey was diagnosed last year with leukemia, a terrible shock to her parents. Alycia says the prognosis is good and Avey is “doing amazingly well,” following intensive chemotherapy and some initial developmental setbacks due to the treatment. She now faces two years of maintenance chemo. Her treatment is very expensive.

“My first thought, as I was trying to process the fact that my two-year-old has cancer, [was] how am I going to take care of her?  What does this mean if we have our health benefits through my employer? Can I leave my job? Are we going to be able to maintain our coverage?” Alycia says.

The health care law is a “huge relief” for Alycia because insurers won’t be able to deny Avey coverage because of her pre-existing condition now or in the future when she’s an adult and looking for a job.

“As a mother of a child with cancer I have plenty to give me worry. One thing I don’t have to worry about now, thanks to the Affordable Care Act, is having Avey’s treatment denied,” she says. “The Affordable Care Act has given us tremendous peace of mind to know that Avey will be able to get the treatment that she needs. … It allows me to be a mom who can focus on taking care of my little girl with cancer.”

Alycia Steinberg with Avey

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Dori Salcido is the HHS Acting Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs