By Ashley Hupfl
ALBANY Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday signed legislation called "Hannah's Law" that amends New York's medical insurance law to cover the cost of enteral formulas.
Eosinophilic esophagitis is an inflammatory condition where the esophagus becomes filled with eosinophils, a type of white blood cell. Children with the disorder can only obtain nourishment from expensive enteral formulas or feeding tubes.
Previous insurance law covered the cost of enteral formulas only under conditions that require tube feeding, critics said. The law amends the requirement that the formula to be covered with or without tube feeding.
The bill was named after Hannah Devane, an eight year-old girl from Yorktown, Westchester County, who suffers from the disorder. In Hannah's case, she can take the formula orally, so it was not covered.
"This law will do so much good for so many families, giving them the opportunity to take care of their children without the financial burden," Jessie Devane, Hannah's mother, said in a statement from Sen. Greg Ball's office.
Hannah's family said the formula they needed to feed Hannah was about $1,200 per month or $14,400 annually.
"I am ecstatic that after a five-year struggle this bill has been signed into law," Ball, R-Patterson, Putnam County, who sponsored the legislation, said in statement. "Thanks to this new law we have ensured that thousands of families are never again victimized by the system, like the Devane family."
Ball first introduced the bill in the state Assembly in 2008.
After four years, Assemblywoman Amy Paulin, D-Scarsdale, Westchester County, got the bill passed in the chamber this year after it was first passed in the Senate in 2012.
"This legislation is critical because it means that children with eosinophilic esophogitis will no longer have to use an invasive feeding tube simply because that is the only method their insurance company covers," Paulin said in statement.