CANTON, Ga. - If your child has a medical issue, you will learn quickly a lot things may not be covered by your child's health insurance plan. But one Georgia family found help.
They qualified for a medical grant from UnitedHealthcare's Children's Foundation. It a program designed for families who have private health insurance (that's a requirement), but their child's medical costs are either not covered or not fully-covered by their plan. This grant would help fill that gap in coverage.
For the Sullivans of Canton, Georgia, it's a way to make sure their daughter is getting what she needs.
In a lot of ways, Kaycie Sullivan is a typical 2-year old.
"(She's) running around," her mother Sydney says. "She takes ballet. She has temper tantrums."
But, when Kaycie was still a newborn, her parents Sydney and Matt Sullivan noticed something was off.
"We could tell she wasn't hearing," Sydney says. "By the time she was 4 or 5 months old, she wasn't responding to sound."
Kaycie was diagnosed with hearing loss. The audiologist recommended a hearing aid. That's where the Sullivan's hit a wall.
"We quickly found out that insurance has, has a lot of limitations," Sydney says. "In Georgia, hearing aids are not required to be covered. There were a lot of tears initially. I must say I spent a lot of late nights."
Sydney is a researcher, so she went online and started looking for programs that might help them.
"Because I knew we were not the only ones who were stuck in this situation of insurance not covering what we needed," she says.
They earned too much money for several grants. But then, Syndey found the UnitedHealthcare Children's Foundation Medical grant program. As a family of 5, they earn $125,000 or less, so they qualified.
"I immediately filled out the application and within thirty days we had the grant," says Sydney.
That grant is designed for families who have private insurance, (that's a requirement) but have gaps in coverage, says David Spurkey, a Vice President of UnitedHealthcare.
"Typically it's things that may not be covered by their regular insurance," says Spurkey. "It may be a hearing aid, like we're talking about now. Or, sometimes, supplies and a equipment when the children get very complex medical conditions."
Kaycie's grant has a lifetime cap of $10,000, but the Sullivans can spread out their requests. This time around, it helped pay the bulk of the $4,000 change for her hearing aids.
"Because she's 2 and a half, she will need a couple more aids before she turns 18," says Sydney. "So we're suing that ability to submit for another grant. But, it is a relief knowing that when it comes around again, there is help out there.
The UnitedHealthcare Children's Foundation medical grant program has several requirements:
Children must be age 16 or under at the time of application.
Families must have private health insurance. Children insured through government-funded insurance plans like SCHIP do not qualify.