7-Year-Old Can't Be Dropped By Insurance Company

Lifetime Limits Eliminated Thursday

A Colorado family can finally rest easy, now that some parts of the Affordable Care Act have taken effect; in particular the ban on lifetime coverage limits.

The Wilkes family of Denver had passed the lifetime cap with two different insurance companies as a result of medical costs for their son, Thomas, who has hemophilia.

"I sat and cried," said Sonji Wilkes, Thomas' mother, when they were dropped from their insurance company. "I cried for hours because I was like, 'What are we going to do? How are we going to take care of this child?'"

Thomas has been kicked off insurance plans not once but twice because he reached the lifetime coverage limit of $1 million. The second time he capped out it was with Cover Colorado, the state's at-risk insurance plan for people who can't get insurance anywhere else.

"We were told by social workers to get a divorce and have the children go on Medicaid," said Nathan Wilkes, Thomas' dad.

Nathan Wilkes said that wasn't an option as it would leave Sonji without health insurance. So the family started its own business so it could buy its own health insurance. Unfortunately, Nathan Wilkes said the new insurance would only last a year or two before again reaching the maximum limit.

"Thomas has severe hemophilia so he needs IV medication every week," said Nathan Wilkes. "It is a very expensive drug."

Thomas goes to Children's Hospital for his treatments. His parents said his monthly bill is at least $30,000.

Now that lifetime limits are eliminated, thanks to the Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to as the health care reform bill, the Wilkes never have to worry about being dropped from another insurance plan.

"It's peace of mind knowing we are not going to have lifetime caps anymore," said Nathan Wilkes.

"(Thomas) is taken care of for the moment," said Sonji Wilkes. "But it is not the end-all, be-all."

The Wilkeses said this is a step in the right direction. They just hope one day health care will be more affordable than it is now.

However, as the Wilkes are excited about one part of the affordable care act, the bill is starting to lose support.

A new AP poll finds just 30 percent of people are in favor of the changes, while 40 percent are opposed; the remainder of people are taking a wait-and-see attitude.

It's that group President Barack Obama targeted in comments Wednesday in Falls Church, VA.

It's been six months since Obama signed the bill into law and he said it's something he said he would do again.

"Health care was one of those issues we could no longer ignore," said Obama. "We couldn't ignore it because the cost of health care has been escalating faster than just about anything else."