This inspirational, disabled family lost its health coverage, and it’s Obamacare’s fault

Robby Soave Reporter
Font Size:

The Daverts are just one of the thousands of American families who lost healthcare coverage after Obamacare forced their insurance company to cancel their plan.

But the Daverts aren’t like any other American family. Twin children Austin and Michaela have brittle bone disease, as does their mother, Melissa. Their father, Ken, has cerebral palsy. Though their handicaps–and medical expenses–are significant, life together is not just manageable, but happy, in their Bay City, Michigan home.

Things have become much more difficult, however, since recently implemented provisions of the Affordable Care Act cause their insurer to drop the children from their health plan. And even after spending hours and hours navigating the labrynthine and demanding answers from confused call center bureaucrats, Melissa Davert’s children remain uninsured, despite their constant medical needs.

And she knows exactly who is to blame.

“We did not put ourselves in this situation,” she told The Daily Caller. “The government put us in this situation.”

Melissa and Ken are covered under Medicare. Medicare, however, has never included their children, who are covered by a separate plan.

Under that plan, which was well suited to the family’s needs, the children’s combined health-care costs could not exceed $2,500 per year.

Nevertheless, they received a letter in the mail informing them that the plan had to be canceled. The letter named the Affordable Care Act as the culprit, as first reported by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy.

This was a surprise to Melissa, who recalled President Obama telling Americans that, ‘If you like your plan, you can keep your plan.’

“We thought we could keep our insurance but I guess that was not the case,” she said.

Melissa immediately went to the exchange to find a new plan. To her disappointment, the best plan she could find was four times more expensive than the old one. It would obligate the family to pay up to $5,100 per year for each child. Taken together, that’s an almost $8,000 increase over the old plan.

Unlike some other families, out of pockets costs matter a great deal to the Daverts, who have frequent medical needs–some regular, some unanticipated. Melissa said money was tight enough for them when they knew their medical costs couldn’t exceed $2,500. Paying up $10,200 each year seemed unthinkable.

Brittle bone disease impedes natural skeletal growth, and people afflicted with it are more likely to break bones and develop infections. A recent accident sent Michaela to the hospital for surgery, for example.

“We are a family of people with disabilities,” she said. “We use our insurance. We could cap out every year.”

But any plan was better than no plan, so Melissa enrolled her children, anyway.

Or so she thought.

“A day or two before the deadline I called to find out our status,” she said. “We were put on hold, we got disconnected. Then they told us they lost our application.”

So Melissa signed up a second time. That didn’t work, either.

“We found out our children had been denied coverage,” she said. “The lady on the phone said, ‘Well, I’m sorry but I have no information as to why they have been denied.’”

The agent told Melissa to enroll her children under Medicaid–something Melissa already knew wouldn’t work. Her only other options were to apply a third time, or appeal the decision.

After her application was denied, that choice was further narrowed.

Unfortunately, the Daverts have no idea how to appeal their children’s denial of coverage, since they don’t know why they were denied in the first place.

If they do manage to qualify for the plan, Ken is looking for part-time work to afford the extra costs associated with it.

It’s hard to see the Daverts’ situation as anything other than a stinging rebuke of the president’s signature health-care reform, according to Anne Schieber, senior investigative analyst at the Mackinac Center.

“It’s hard to believe that Obamacare is hurting the very families it was suppose to help,” Schieber told The Daily Caller. “Imagine a family with significant disabilities now thinking about taking out loans and re-entering the workforce just to pay for health insurance.”

Schieber, who filmed a video interview with the Daverts, said that comprehensive federal laws are bound to create unintended consequences.

“This is what happens when government meddles with a critical segment of the economy instead of allowing the free market to do its magic,” she said.

While the Davert children are just two of the millions of Americans who have lost their health care coverage because of the Affordable Care Act, their story may elicit a higher level of sympathy, given their condition.

Or perhaps not. Melissa reached out to several local politicians–none of whom gave any indication that they would help.

Follow Robby on Twitter