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Foundation Looking To Award More Grants To Cover Family Medical Expenses in Kentucky

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Tonya Ratliff’s 15-year-old son Tyler has been living with diabetes for 10 years.  Two years ago, doctors told the Owensboro family they’d have to start replacing the insert in Tyler’s diabetes pump more frequently.

“It already was a lot, and that would double it," she said. "So I was like ‘I don’t think I can do that,'."

With three sons, it would be an extra financial burden the Ratliff family. Their doctor told them about a foundation that helps pay for medical expenses not covered by a healthcare plan.  

Since 2007, the UnitedHealthcare Children’s Foundation has given 7,500 grants across the country. In the last three years, 90 of them have been in Kentucky, providing nearly $300,000 for families with children 16 and under. The organization is trying to increase the number of Kentucky families who receive assistance.

“It was a life-changing experience for us, because we literally lived paycheck to paycheck and this was a great burden off of us,” said Ratliff.

The program can cover up to $5,000 dollars in expenses, and each child can receive a maximum of $10,000 over a lifetime.

 “If we can help relieve that $5,000 on a specific grant, we feel that the family will be able to use that money just to live more of a quality life,” said Paul Brophy, Chief Operating Officer for UnitedHealthcare in Kentucky.

Grant recipients must be under a commercial health plan to qualify.  Brophy says this helps ensure all possible coverage options have been exhausted before the grant is awarded.

“Whether it be a wheelchair, whether it be some kind of a modification within the actual living situation,” said Brophy.  “These grants come in and cover the cost of these types of things which may not be covered otherwise.”

Families can apply for the grants online.   

To fund the grants, UnitedHealthcare Foundation relies on donations. A new 32-page children’s book called “Oliver & Hope’s Adventure Under the Stars” is being sold to help raise funds for the children’s foundation.


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