10News gets help for teen with rare food allergy

A 10News report earlier this week got action for the Walls family in Pasco.

Finally, some good news for a local teen with a rare allergy to food. He and his parents have been battling with his dad’s company and insurance company since January over coverage for his dietary needs. They hadn’t been able to get any results - until 10News stepped in.

We first told you about Remington Walls earlier this week. The Land O' Lakes High School junior can't eat anything. If he does, he gets violently ill.

Frontier Communications took over his dad's company in 2016. Now, for the first time in 13 years, insurer Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield refuses to cover Remington’s only source of nutrition, a Neocate EO28 Splash “shake,” a hypoallergenic amino acid-based liquid formula.

The insurer considers the formula a "food supplement."

After questions from 10News, Frontier has agreed to reimburse the family the $2,000+ they've been out every month paying for Remington's special shakes. Frontier will also cover Remington's formula, but just for a year.

The family's still fighting insurance for prolonged coverage.

“We are extremely grateful for that year because it is my only source of food. But it's not a permanent fix, so we still need to think about what's going to happen after that year,” said Remington.

“They’ve given us a reprieve, and we're grateful for that. But we have to continue fighting the legislation, and we just can't thank (10News) enough. Your story has made a difference.

"I think tonight we're finally going to get our first night of sleep, just peace of mind,” said Stephanie Walls, Remington’s mom.

In a statement, Frontier spokesperson Bob Elek said, "The safety, health, and wellness of our workforce and their families are top priorities and we are proud of the quality and range of benefits we offer. While it appears that coverage for the formula is excluded under the insurance policy, it is a product that is readily available and we have agreed to provide it directly to Remington for a year, reimburse them for the formula costs they have recently incurred, and will work directly with the family moving forward."

The Walls family has been talking with Senator Marco Rubio’s office about getting legislation that would require insurance companies to provide coverage for anyone who needs such formulas to survive.

Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield still hasn’t gotten back to 10News as promised.

Meanwhile, the community is stepping up. In a week, a GoFundMe account has raised more than $13,000 to help Remington.

© 2017 WTSP-TV


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