Health Law

Jennifer Jaff, Advocate for Those with Chronic Illness, Dies of Crohn's Complications

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A Connecticut lawyer whose illness inspired her to become an advocate for others with chronic illnesses has died.

Jennifer Jaff, of Farmington, was 55.

Jaff died Sept. 14 of complications of Crohn’s disease, an incurable gastrointestinal disorder she was diagnosed with at age 19, according to a news obituary in the New York Times.

When she could no longer work in her law practice, Jaff founded and became director of Advocacy for Patients with Chronic Illness in 2005. In her practice, she assisted more than 5,000 clients with filing insurance claims for “invisible disabilities,” including Crohn’s, autoimmune disorders and sickle cell anemia, the Times notes.

Jaff participated in National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius, writing an amicus brief arguing in support of the Affordable Care Act’s provision prohibiting insurers from discriminating against people with existing conditions.

Of the court’s ruling in June, Jaff was quoted as saying, “I live and breathe chronic-illness law, and in my estimation this is the most important civil rights advance for people with chronic illnesses ever. There can never be equality if we can’t get health insurance.”

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