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DENVER — A large insurance company wants to get the word out about a program that’s helping pay medical bills for children who are under-insured.
The UnitedHealthcare Children’s Foundation (UHCCF) provides thousands of medical grants to children and their families.
Since 2007, the foundation has awarded more than 18,000 grants worth more than $45 million to families across the country.
The foundation serves children who have insurance but are under-insured, meaning there’s a gap between what their insurance will pay and the amount of money families must pay out of pocket.
“Shriners or the Ronald McDonald House, and others, they’re for people who don’t have insurance or for little kids or you have to travel to another state,” said Josie Bristol, whose 13-year-old son Kilian Bristol was a recipient of a UHCCF grant.
“He was born with a bilateral cleft lip and pallet,” Bristol said.
Bristol said Kilian had multiple surgeries to correct his lip and pallet. The family’s insurance covered most of the procedures, but the latest surgery was not covered and cost thousands of dollars.
“It was about $2,500 and I cried….it was scary, and we said, well, we’ll take out a loan, we’ll pay with credit cards, we’ll figure it out. Then our case manager said there is a foundation, UnitedHealthcare Children’s Foundation and they take people that have insurance but not enough and so that was so wonderful," Bristol said.
The Bristols' application was approved, and Kilian had surgery without adding to the family’s medical debt.
Killian told Denver7 he wants others to know about this resource.
“I know we’ve struggled with medical bills and this can help families and children,” Kilian said.
“It turned out great for me. It feels nice to have something having your back, so you don’t have to think about the things that are going to cause you trouble.”
To be eligible to receive a grant, children must be 16 years old or younger.
The child must have a social security number and health insurance through a commercial health plan or secondary insurance through Medicaid.
Children do not have to have medical insurance through UnitedHealthcare.
Families can receive up to $5,000 annually per child and a maximum of $10,000 over a lifetime.
By 2020, the UnitedHealthcare Children’s Foundation hopes to have awarded 20,000 grants to children with medical expenses.