VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — The Carey family from Virginia Beach fought the commonwealth and won.
It’s all thanks to state leaders who helped five children who were booted off of their parents’ first responder-preferred health care plan. WAVY News met with the Carey family to learn about their story.
“We had to buy a separate health insurance policy for Michael for the last three years. The cost which was very costly. We had high deductibles, and it didn’t cover very much,” Mike Carey told us.
That’s not the way it was supposed to be. Mike Carey is a former Virginia Beach Police officer. He was a first responder. He received the Blue Star for injury in the line of duty, and then retired in 2004.
In 2006, Michael — also known as Mikey — was born, and went on his dad’s injured in the line of duty premium-free healthcare benefits coverage.
“It was cha-ching, cha-ching, costing a lot of money,” Mikey’s mother Maria said. “We were confused. Lots of questions at the doctor’s office. ‘Mikey has his own policy, he’s not on your policy.’ Yes, it is a long story,”
Long story, because Mikey is now 13 and was kicked off his father’s plan by the State of Virginia, which took over management of the plan from the City of Virginia Beach.
The state wrote the Careys in 2017 and said an “eligible dependent does not include a child born after the time of the employee’s death or disability.”
It was at that point Carey called 10 on Your Side.
10 On Your Side wrote the story and Virginia Beach Del. Barry Knight and state Sen. Bill Desteph jumped on board trying to right a wrong.
Mikey had something to say about it too.
“Three years, I got kicked off for unfair reasons,” he said.
This week, Gov. Ralph Northam signed into law HB 51, the Line of Duty Act. it provides that children born or adopted after the death or disability of an employee covered by the Line of Duty Act are eligible for health insurance coverage if their birth or adoption occurred after the time of the employee’s death or disability, but prior to July 1, 2017.
HB 51 restored those health care benefits to Mikey and four others including these children from Northern Virginia who were born after their parents retired and had been kicked off their health care plans. They were also born before July 1, 2017. The law was cleaned up to state no children born after July 1, 2017 would be covered.
Mike Carey spent about $25,000 out of pocket for Mikey to get insurance. Mikey is appreciative.
“I would like to thank Governor Northam. I would like to thank (Delegate) Knight and (state Senator DeSteph) and the General Assembly for the unanimous vote, and I would like to thank my dad for his the determination and hard work that he put into this,” Mike Carey said.
“I knew I wasn’t going to give up, and I would tell [10 On Your Side’s] viewers when they feel they are wronged, don’t give up. There are good people out there within our government who, without looking for anything in return, will step up to the plate and help you,” he said.
We asked Mike Carey what would happen on July 1 when Mikey officially goes on the policy.
“We are going to have a heck of a party because that’s when the insurance kicks in for young Mikey,” Mike Carey said.