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9/11 Illness No Longer Bar to Insurance Coverage Under Affordable Care Act

In a 2006 New York Times article, the co-director of Mount Sinai’s World Trade Center Worker and Volunteer Medical Screening Program, Dr. Robin Herbert, stressed the lifelong health consequences faced by ground zero workers:

”There should no longer be any doubt about the health effects of the World Trade Center disaster . . . Our patients are sick, and they will need ongoing care for the rest of their lives.”

She also made the disturbing observation that 40 percent of the patients who came to the hospital for screening had no health insurance.

Without insurance, many first responders, residents and workers who survived the terrorist attacks had trouble getting treatment for their 9/11-related illnesses. Initially, skepticism about whether certain illnesses were caused by toxic exposure on 9/11 further thwarted the efforts to finance treatment. Fortunately, the truth finally prevailed and the Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) added some of the illnesses previously deemed unrelated, including certain types of cancers.

However, individuals without health insurance at the time of the 9/11 attacks encountered the real prospect of never again qualifying for health insurance. Pre-existing condition clauses in most insurance policies made them ineligible for insurance coverage, a common practice that was totally legal in the years following 9/11. If an illness was not covered by the VCF and yet was considered pre-existing, the patient had little recourse for treatment. 

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) rectifies coverage issues related to 9/11 diseases by:

  • Prohibiting denial of coverage for children with pre-existing conditions since 2010
  • Prohibiting denial of coverage or policy renewal for all people with pre-existing conditions since 2014
  • Eliminating the practice of imposing lifetime limits on essential benefits
  • Eliminating annual limits on treatment
  • Prohibiting gender discrimination, which previously subjected women to higher rates
  • Ensuring coverage for clinical trial participation, which may provide treatment options for 9/11 victims with rare cancers and other diseases
  • Expanding eligibility for and access to Medicaid (in New York and select states)

To learn more about your rights to post-9/11 insurance coverage, consult with Barasch & McGarry in New York City.

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  • "Barasch McGarry Salzman & Penson handled everything professionally and with patience. They always had time to answer all my questions and did what they promised. Thanks esp to Brian Calamaris Lee London, and Mariya Atanasova. Thank you." - William Collins, FDNY

  • "If I could give them six stars I would...don't even bother talking to anyone else concerning 9/11. The whole team worked night and day to deliver an outstanding settlement. They are honest, hard working and extremely professional. Just make the one phone call and let them do the rest." - Les Margulis, resident in the exposure zone

  • "I had a very good experience with Michael and Mariya. They made the process stress free. I would recommend this firm to anyone seeking assistance with 9/11 related illnesses." - JE Kirwan, worked in the exposure zone

  • "The people at this firm were just great. They were concern with making sure I was taken care of in every way possible. When I was given an award Mr. Barasch didn't think it was a fair amount and appealed the decision which got me a larger award. I am very satisfied with everything they did for me in the past and are willing to do for me and my family in the future." - Bob Wiecezak, FDNY-Retired

  • "Excellent law firm. Lee London and his staff were very responsive and always followed up with phone calls or emails. This firm is a strong example of what caring and personable lawyers are all about." - Letitia Egan, wife of client, volunteer in the exposure zone

  • Deadline Extended to Register for Compensation

    There is still time to apply for significant compensation if you have been diagnosed with any of the 68 cancers that doctors at the WTC Health Program (WTCHP) have linked to the WTC toxic dust. The deadline to apply to the Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) is two years from the date that a cancer has been certified by the WTC Health Program — or any other governmental agency. The two-year period to register doesn’t start on the day of a cancer diagnosis. Rather, it starts only when a cancer survivor is made aware their cancer was linked to exposure to the WTC toxins.

    For those who died from their WTC-linked cancers, the two-year period for their family to register starts on the day of the death of the WTC victim.

    Register For Compensation

Please help spread the word about the strict two-year deadline to register a claim

Many people have tried to complete the VCF application on their own, only to learn that it requires answers to hundreds of questions and many documents to download. It would be our pleasure to help you complete the process in order to ensure that you receive the compensation that you are entitled to. Please call us for a free consultation.

Let a knowledgeable attorney help you figure it out

A cancer diagnosis can be terrifying. You undoubtedly have questions about your disease and how you will pay for treatment. Lawyers at Barasch & McGarry ensure you understand the complex requirements and help devise the best strategies for obtaining compensation and appropriate medical care under the Zadroga Act. Contact our law firm online or call 888-351-9421. The initial consultation is free, so it costs you nothing to find out whether a lawyer can help.
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