Riggleman helps Crozet family introduce Ensuring Lasting Smiles Act

March 4, 2019
In The News

CROZET, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- A Crozet family's experience with their son's rare condition is inspiring change to close insurance coverage gaps for medical procedures for kids with congenital anomalies.

Three-year-old Kannon Koser was diagnosed with hypohidrotic ectodermal dysplasia, a disease that shocked his parents.

"He did have some issues with reflux and swallowing early on and he had some skin rashes," said Kevin Koser, Kannon's father. "The doctor recommended genetic testing. Around his first birthday, they took a blood sample and confirmed the diagnosis was ecodermal dysplasia."

Kannon is part of the four percent of kids in the United States that's born with a congenital anomaly, a condition that would impact his life.

"He's three and a half years old and still has no teeth right now. That has resulted in a loss of bone in his mouth," he said. "The jawbone and the gum line have totally receded."

The journey for Kannon to get a full set of dentures would be a tougher one than the family expected because of a medical loophole.

"Essentially deems medically necessary treatments for children, like Kannon, as cosmetic in nature or uncovered services," said Kevin Koser. "This has resulted in many families having to pay over $150,000 out of pocket for the treatments associated with the teeth and intraoral structures of the mouth."

Kannon's situation inspired the Koser family to look for another solution to close this loophole for Kannon and other kids suffering from similar conditions.

"We saw an opportunity to contact Denver Riggleman in November when he was campaigning," said Kevin Koser. "We met him locally in Charlottesville and introduced him to Kannon."

This introduction turned into a new bi-partisan effort led by Congressman Denver Riggleman and Democratic Representative Collin Peterson called the Ensuring Lasting Smiles Act.

The bill would ensure that children born with congenital anomalies would receive the oral and dental care they need.

It would also close coverage gaps insurance companies use to deny certain procedures that are needed for children like Kannon.

"Ensuring Lasting Smiles Act will allow kids who have very serious diseases to actually be able to eat and get the substance they need by doing reconstructive surgery on their mouth, which is one of the first things that happens," said Riggleman. "They lose their teeth, they lose their ability to chew."

This piece of legislation is something Kannon hopes will pass through Congress to give him a chance to have a lasting smile.

The bill was introduced to the House and Senate.

It's now making it's way through several committees.