UnitedHealthcare Children’s Foundation grant helps young boy receive needed hearing aids

Adrian's story

Pablo Larios can still recall the wave of happiness he and his wife felt the first time they laid eyes on their son Adrian. But those overjoyed feelings would soon turn into concern — Pablo said he knew instantly something was wrong.

“When he finally came out, it was a shock for us to see him,” Pablo said. “I saw the first ear closed and then I turned his head and the other one was also closed.”

Adrian was born with bilateral microtia and atresia, meaning both of his ears and ear canals were closed, severely limiting his ability to hear.

Pablo became very concerned the hearing loss his son faced would impact other abilities, like speech, mobility and social skills. 

“What can I do for him? Where can I get help? What can I do?” Pablo said. “You feel like there’s nothing safe anymore, but as a father, you have to overcome those types of feelings.”

Just a few months after Adrian’s birth, Pablo found the help they needed. Adrian qualified to receive bone-anchored hearing aids (or a BAHA system). After a trial run with the BAHA system, Adrian went from severe hearing loss (70 dB) to mild hearing loss (30 dB).

The BAHA system would be lifechanging for Adrian, but it wasn’t fully covered by insurance and was quite expensive, which would put financial strain on Pablo and his family.

Through the UnitedHealthcare Children’s Foundation (UHCCF), they qualified for a grant to help cover the cost of the hearing device.

“When the UnitedHealthcare Children’s Foundation gave us a grant, for us it was a big relief,” Pablo said. “It opened up a window. It was like a lifesaver.”

Adrian needed an updated BAHA system around his first birthday and UHCCF was there again to help with a second grant.

“When we knocked on that door again, there were no questions asked. Just fill out the application,” Pablo said.

Adrian, now 3, will need surgery around his eighth birthday to reconstruct both ears, but until then Pablo hopes his son continues to progress socially, mentally and physically, but most importantly, remain the happy ball of energy he is today.

“He likes to jump. He likes to run around,” Pablo said. “He really is someone that you look forward to seeing at the end of a very hard day. He behaves like a normal kid. He doesn’t even know the devices are there. He’s just like any other 3-year-old kid.”

Pablo said the grants given to their family is something they are eternally grateful for and will never take for granted.

“This teaches you that people are willing to help, that you are never alone. There are people that understand that sometimes in life things happen,” Pablo said. “It also teaches us a lot about being grateful. Being grateful for what we have and for the little moments that he shows us.”

Since 2005, UHCCF has awarded more than 34,000 grants valued at over $70 million. The funding pays for children’s medical expenses not covered, or not fully covered, by a commercial health insurance plan.

The goal is to support families like Adrian’s so they can focus on what’s most important – improving their child’s quality of life. The grants help cover medical services and equipment like various therapies, counseling services, surgeries, prescriptions, wheelchairs and more.

Is your child eligible?

  • Grant recipients must be 16 years old or younger at the time of application
  • Must meet eligible income requirements
  • Must be children under the care of a licensed medical professional with services rendered within the United States
  • Primary coverage for a child must be by a commercial health plan, either through an employer or individually purchased. Secondary insurance through Medicaid or CHIP is permissible.
  • Children do not need to be insured by UnitedHealthcare.

Do you know a family who could benefit from a children’s medical grant? Visit UHCCF.org for more information on how to apply.

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