American Morning

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November 6th, 2009
06:44 AM ET

Ian's Law aims to close health insurance loophole

By Jim Acosta

It doesn't happen often, but every once in a while we get to do a story that has a real life-changing impact on somebody's life. Ian Pearl is one of those stories. He's the disabled man we profiled last month. Living on a respirator with muscular dystrophy, he was just weeks away from losing his health insurance.

His insurance company, Guardian, had canceled his coverage. Guardian had found a loophole in New York state law that allowed the company to drop his coverage as part of a slew of policies it had decided to dump. The Pearl family's lawyer showed us a Guardian company e-mail that had referred to Ian's policy as one of the "dogs." It was a reference to the fact that Ian's care costs a million dollars a year.

Well, one day after the story aired, the company reversed itself, apologized, and restored Ian's policy.

But the story doesn't end there. New York State Senator Eric Schneiderman has now announced legislation called "Ian's Law," which seeks to close that insurance loophole.

Because of Ian's condition, he couldn't make it to the news conference. But he appeared via video conference and announced his intention to see this law passed across the country and potentially on a national level.

Watch Ian speak at the news conference

One thing we didn't get to mention in our piece is that as a kid, Ian was a poster child for people with muscular dystrophy. He later became president of his high school.

Now Ian is a spokesman and leader once again, fighting for health care reforms that protect the disabled from a system that sometimes fails to safeguard this country's most vulnerable people.

Related: Insurance company does an about-face

Filed under: Health • Politics
soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. Kathie

    On health care in general, a question: does the Health Insurance Plan for Congress contain abortion funding?

    November 10, 2009 at 8:11 am |
  2. independent

    How these insurance companies can live with themselves are beyond human comprehension. I hope the public option puts them ALL out of business. I think it's called karma.

    November 7, 2009 at 9:14 pm |
  3. Richard Pifer

    It costs $2740/day to keep this guy healthy. To put that in perspective, that is equivalent to six other people, who make $28.54/hr, sacrificing their lives by working 16 hour days, seven days a week, and keeping none of the money for themselves. Either this guy has some unbelievable medical needs, or someone is ripping off the insurance company and their other clients.

    November 6, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  4. David Riley

    Since the reporting of the tragic events of yesterday and the release of the gunman being a psychiatrist, I have not heard that the highest rate of suicides among any proffession is psychiatrists. With the fact that the gunman's religion was Islam and he was a psychiatrist made him that much more vulnerable to tragedy.

    November 6, 2009 at 8:03 am |
  5. Old Man Rants

    Why is it that organizations have to be 'embarrassed' into doing the right thing? This story and the one regarding potential deportation of the military wife are only the most recent examples of such bad practices of organizations. Is it that employees of these organizations feel so hapless that they take their frustrations out on 'faceless' constituents who ultimately pay their salary – I don’t know. It just seems to me that people have forgotten that Customer Service is a verb as well as a noun. Unfortunately, all of the action seems to have been taken out of it.

    November 6, 2009 at 7:46 am |
  6. ira goldberg

    Great story . independent media is so important. to be our eyes and ears and help watch over us form all sides.
    thanks for a happy ending.I have child with special needs. MY insurance in new york oxford has been great i have there HMO.There staff and doctors have always been helpful .One time my son need a procedure and they pay a top doctor at Columbia-Presbyterian to do the surgery.

    November 6, 2009 at 7:13 am |