When Erin Lamb gave birth to quadruplets five years ago, the joy of parenthood also came with the sobering realization that the infants, born almost three months premature, would need intensive medical attention.
After the quadruplets – Nathaniel, Isaiah, Isabella and Maryann – were discharged from the neonatal intensive care unit, they would all need physical therapy for years to come, with only some of it covered by the family’s health insurance plan.
“It was very stressful,” said Lamb, of New Haven, Connecticut. “It’s emotionally taxing, but it’s also financially taxing.”
The family learned through a physical therapist that they could apply for medical grants for the quadruplets through UnitedHealthcare Children’s Foundation. They were awarded a $3,000 grant in March 2017 to help with Maryann’s physical therapy.
“It’s such a relief. It meant we didn’t have to choose who gets what therapy,” Lamb said.
The UnitedHealthcare Children’s Foundation grants help families pay for children’s medical expenses that are not covered, or not fully covered, by a commercial health insurance plan.
Families do not need to have insurance through UnitedHealthcare to be eligible. Qualifying families can receive up to $5,000 per grant, with a lifetime maximum of $10,000 per child.
“Our mission to help children access and receive care that improves their quality of life is made possible by the kindness and generosity of people across the country,” said UnitedHealthcare Children’s Foundation President Matt Peterson. “Thousands of families have already been helped by UnitedHealthcare Children’s Foundation grants, but we know many more families are in need.”
In the case of the Lamb family, without the grants, Maryann likely would have either gone without physical therapy altogether or gone much less frequently — her siblings simply needed the help more than she did, her mom said, noting that Maryann now has no trouble keeping up with her friends on the playground, thanks to the therapy she received.
Children with a wide range of medical conditions--including cancer, spina bifida, muscular dystrophy, diabetes, hearing loss, autism, cystic fibrosis, Down syndrome, ADHD and cerebral palsy--have benefitted from the program. Families have used the grants to help pay for physical and speech therapy, counseling services, prescriptions, wheelchairs, orthotics, eyeglasses, hearing aids, and expensive treatments such as repeat surgery.
The foundation has awarded more than 14,000 grants valued at more than $37 million across the United States since 2007, and aims to surpass 20,000 grants by Jan. 1, 2020.
To qualify for a grant, a child must be 16 years old or younger. Families must meet economic guidelines, reside in the U.S. and have a commercial health insurance plan. Parents or legal guardians are encouraged to apply for the grants at www.UHCCF.org.