Kentucky House and Senate Committees Pass “Noah’s Law”
Two identical bills that have one goal – helping a Pike County boy and as many as 200 other children who have been denied the same health benefit – cleared a major hurdle today when separate House and Senate committees unanimously approved the legislation within minutes of each other.
Senate Bill 146, which is sponsored by Senate Democratic Floor Leader Ray S. Jones II, and House Bill 353, which House Speaker Greg Stumbo has filed, call on insurance companies to cover a special type of formula needed by those whose medical condition precludes them from eating most foods.
The two legislative leaders filed their bills after learning about the plight faced by Eddie and Stephanie Greenhill and their nine-year-old son, Noah. Until Noah was five, doctors could not diagnose why he was ill, and he weighed only 25 pounds at the time.
In 2010, he was diagnosed with eosinophilic esophagitis, a condition that attacked his organs and ultimately required him to have a feeding tube installed.
He now receives an amino acid-based elemental formula four times a day, at a daily cost of more than $40. The family’s insurance company, however, has denied coverage for that, despite being required to provide similar benefits for other illnesses.
“It was appalling to me that the insurance company would deny the coverage,” Sen. Jones of Pikeville testified. House Speaker Stumbo of Prestonsburg, who filed his bill after learning about the issue from Sen. Jones, later added that it was “amazing insurance companies have turned their backs” on families like this.
During his testimony, Eddie Greenhill said the denial caused his family to take money from their own retirement and to receive help from their parents. “Amino acid-based elemental formulas have made Noah better – and because they are medically necessary, insurance companies should be required to cover them,” he said.
Sen. Jones and Speaker Stumbo testified together with the family before the two committees: Senate Health and Welfare and House Banking and Insurance. Following suggestions by committee members, the legislative leaders said they would seek to tweak the bills so they would take effect immediately and potentially expand to cover a group of citizens facing similar conditions.
The bills will now go before their respective chambers, where they are expected to be approved in the coming days. Once Noah’s Law, as the legislation will be known, clears the House and Senate, it will be sent to Governor Bevin to be signed into law.
(story provided by Office of the Kentucky House Speaker)