Browse Month

September 2015

UnitedHealthcare Children’s Foundation grants 10,000th Medical Grant

L to R, Laura Young and Patricia Serio share a laugh with patient Jesus Villanueva, 15.
Laura Young, left, and Patricia Serio, right, share a laugh with patient Jesus Villanueva, 15.

Learning that your child has a chronic disease can be a devastating and life-changing event for any parent. Fortunately, for thousands of families, UnitedHealthcare Children’s Foundation (UHCCF) has helped provide some peace of mind, at least financially.

This month, UnitedHealthcare Children’s Foundation delivered its 10,000th child medical grant. Since 2007, UHCCF has awarded grants valued at more than $28 million to children and their families across the United States to help pay for medical expenses not covered, or fully covered, by a commercial health insurance plan, including physical, occupational and speech therapy, counseling services, surgeries, prescriptions, wheelchairs, orthotics, eyeglasses and hearing aids.

In Texas, UHCCF has awarded more than $18 million to nearly 550 families since 2011. In fact, Texas families have received more grants than nearly any other state.

The 10,000th grant in the United States was received by the Tattersall family in Jacksonville, Florida, who used the funds to pay for updated hearing aids for their 5-year-old twin boys. Cole and Jake have worn hearing aids since shortly after their first birthdays, and according to their mom, these new devices are allowing them to hear and respond to things that they couldn’t previously.

Families can receive up to $5,000 annually per child ($10,000 lifetime maximum per child), and do not need to have insurance through UnitedHealthcare to be eligible for a medical grant. UHCCF’s funding is provided by contributions from individuals, corporations and UnitedHealth Group employees.

Left, patient Jessica Smith shares a laugh with Mary McElrath-Jones who his sharing jokes from “Little Book, Big Laughs” joke book with her.
Patient Jessica Smith, left, laughs with UHC representative Mary McElrath-Jones who is reading jokes from “Little Book, Big Laughs” joke book.

To help raise awareness of the grant program and to celebrate this milestone, UnitedHealthcare employees are delivering 10,000 children’s joke books to youth-based community organizations and children’s health centers in 25 cities across the country, including San Antonio, Dallas and Houston.

To apply for a grant, donate or learn more, visit Grant applications are accepted on a rolling basis and there is no application deadline.

UnitedHealthcare steps up in Texas to provide first-ever statewide sponsorship of Walk to End Alzheimer’s

UnitedHealthcare WalkWalking is good for the body and soul. It’s also good for the mind, especially when the walk is part of a massive effort to raise awareness and funds to battle the mind-destroying disease, Alzheimer’s.

As part of the company’s commitment to healthy bodies and minds, UnitedHealthcare is committing $100,000 to the Walk to End Alzheimer’s in 34 communities across Texas. UnitedHealthcare is the first statewide sponsor of the Alzheimer’s Association’s largest annual event series.

“The Walk to End Alzheimer’s is an important part of the Alzheimer’s Association’s efforts to support research for a disease for which there is no known cure or treatment,” said Don Langer, president & CEO of UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Texas.

For UnitedHealthcare, however, the commitment to end Alzheimer’s is more than just monetary; it is personal.

Mr. Langer, for example, serves as chairman of the 2015 Houston Walk to End Alzheimer’s. Other UHC employees are engaged as volunteers at local walk events across the state and nation and as members of The UnitedHealth Group National Walk Team. The Walk Team, which includes employees and volunteers from UnitedHealth Group, UnitedHealthcare and Optum, has provided more than 600 walkers in 78 walks across the nation, to date.

Walk to End Alzheimer’s participants in Dallas, Austin, Fort Worth, Brownsville, Temple and Houston will be greeted by Dr. Health E. Hound, the ever-popular UnitedHealthcare Community Plan mascot who inspires kids to stay fit and healthy. UnitedHealthcare Community Plan will also have information booths at each walk.

Alzheimer’s is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, yet there is no known medicine or treatment that can prevent or cure the disease. More than five million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease, affecting more than 15 million family members, friends and caregivers, many of whom may be members of UnitedHealthcare. Which is one of the reasons why UnitedHealthcare has stepped up in Texas to support the Alzheimer’s Association’s effort to find new treatments, preventions, and ultimately, a cure for the disease.


Deaf Corpus Christi resident receives better Dental Health with UHC Community Plan

UnitedHealthCare - dentist2When Bob, a 55-year old deaf Corpus Christi man with acute Asperger’s syndrome, needed help covering the costs of his dental care, UnitedHealthcare’s Community Plan and service coordinator Lisa VanFleet, stepped in to help him back to good dental health.

Despite his disabilities, Bob has an independent spirit and has been able to live on his own with the help of his brother, Jim, who stops in to visit Bob every day to make sure he has everything he needs and to take him to all of his appointments.

When Bob used sign language to tell Jim he was worried about his teeth, Jim scheduled an appointment with a local dentist. Unfortunately, they learned that Bob had severe tooth decay and an extensive gum infection. Treatment costs were going to be well above the $500 dental coverage provided by Bob’s traditional Medicaid plan from the state.

The one piece of good news, the dentist said, was that Bob’s dental needs were so extensive he would likely qualify for the Texas Medicaid STAR+PLUS managed care program. Jim helped Bob apply and, once application was approved, he became a member of UnitedHealthcare Community Plan, assigned to VanFleet.

“I went out, explained the plan benefits and did an assessment to determine what Bob needed and didn’t need,” said VanFleet. “He really just wanted dental services at the time, so he ended up going straight back to the dentist.”

Bob received antibiotics to treat his gum infection, and his teeth were all pulled and replaced with a set of dentures.

“With the pain gone, he’s like a totally different person,” VanFleet said. “The last time I saw him, he was feeling so much better.”

With Bob a member of UnitedHealthcare Community Plan, Jim can also breathe a sigh of relief, knowing that his brother has a service coordinator working to make sure his needs are being met.

“Jim’s got his own job and a family to take care of, so being a full-time caregiver has been stressful for him,” VanFleet said. “But he’s totally dedicated to his brother.”

VanFleet said that every time she talks to Jim, he thanks her profusely for her work and the support that Bob is now receiving. What really surprised VanFleet was that Jim shared his story at a Houston airport.

“He just happened to be there at the same time as some UnitedHealthcare Community Plan leaders who were on their way to Corpus Christi for a town hall meeting,” she said. “He heard them talking about UnitedHealthcare Community Plan and he jumped in to tell them about how happy he was with the care and support his brother is receiving.”

VanFleet is delighted that Bob got the treatment he needed to ease his pain and improve his overall health.

“Dental disease can lead to so many other health problems. I’m glad we were able to prevent that from happening,” she said. “But I just did my job, and I’m glad we’ve been able to help him maintain his health and independence.”