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A woman has spent nearly her entire pregnancy battling her employer over providing medical coverage to her because her employer claimed her pregnancy was a pre-existing condition.
The federal program, Americorps, claimed it was exempt from laws requiring that employers not deny coverage to pregnant employers on the grounds of pre-existing conditions.
Savanna Kraft receives a $800 a month stipend from Americorps. When she took the position, she did not know that she was pregnant. Her doctors later estimated her baby was conceived before her benefits kicked in.
As a result, the taxpayer-funded program refused to provide coverage to her and her unborn baby.
Kraft and fiance Russell Dempsey began researching and found the Department of Labor said pregnancies are protected even if a woman had no prior coverage before enrolling in her employer's plan.
But they were told by labor officials that government-funded programs aren't covered by the 1996 federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. There was also a question about whether her not having a job in the three months before joining Americorps affected her coverage.
KCTV5 repeatedly tried to reach Americorps officials over several days this week. They did not answer KCTV5's questions but relented and authorized their insurance company to cover about $60,000 in medical bills incurred by Kraft during her pregnancy.
Dempsey and Kraft agreed that taking their fight public made a difference.
"If we wouldn't have made noise, they would have gotten out of the $60,000 in medical coverage they were supposed to cover," Russell said.
Kraft's medical bills were so high because she suffered a deep vein thrombosis and had to stay in the hospital for a week.
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