CHARLOTTE, NC (FOX 46 WJZY) - More parents are reaching out to FOX 46 to say their insurance company refused to pay for a medical helmet medical experts say is needed to correct a skull deformity in infants.
"I would have assumed automatically this was something that would be covered," said Durham mom Dana Richards.
Richards says her health insurance, United Healthcare, would not pay for her twins' cranial helmet. Both were diagnosed with severe plagiocephaly, a common skull deformity, that can be easily correct with the medical helmet.
She had to pay $5000 out of pocket.
"They said it was an exclusion in our policy," she said
In its denial, United Healthcare said the helmets "are not eligible expenses" under her plan. She now plans to sue.
So does Heather Brooks.
"My first thought was what are we paying for?," said Brooks. "We pay $700 a month in insurance."
United Healthcare also rejected her claim to fix her son, Arcturus', condition. FOX 46 found a company, Cranial Technologies, that offered to donate the $4000 medical device for free.
Insurance denials of the pricey device goes back more than a decade. Court records show Blue Cross Blue Shield settled a lawsuit in 2008 after being accused of rejecting claims for hundreds of helmets meant to help babies.
"Our insurance was completely denied," said Florida mom Melissa Rosenblum, holding her infant son Jude.
Rosenblum started a company called Wrap My Lid that transforms the dull device into something more colorful and kid-friendly.
"It looks kind of medical," she said, holding up an all white helmet.
"And then you have my son's," she added, holding up an orange and blue one that looks like a tiny football helmet. He's a [University of] Florida fan."
Rosenblum wasn't surprised when she saw our stories of parents being denied. She has heard countless stories from other parents online and in person. She wants to help and is raising money so she can donate the helmets, also called cranial or DOC Bands, to other parents for free.
"You see it left and right," said Rosenblum. "They're beside themselves. They can't afford the DOC Band. It's between paying rent, going out to dinner or starting a monthly payment."