I thought this might be useful to some: http://www2.timesdispatch.com/rtd/l...lth/article/HP-QUES01_20100430-212203/341265/ By Tammie Smith Published: May 1, 2010 Updated: May 1, 2010 1:50 AM ? 0 Comments | Post a Comment vote nowBuzz up!The UnitedHealthcare Children's Foundation is trying to get the word out about its grant program that helps families pay for medical expenses for children who have special medical needs. The foundation awards up to $5,000 to commercially insured families whose children have reached their health-plan limits on services, such as physical and speech therapy, and equipment, such as hearing aids and wheelchairs. It is a nonprofit charity funded by contributions from UnitedHealth Group, UnitedHealthcare and its employees, and from individuals and corporations. To be eligible, families must live in the U.S., meet income guidelines, have commercial insurance and be seeking a grant for a child 16 years old or younger. Ann Story of Chesterfield County said she was able to get a grant in 2008 to help buy a new wheelchair for daughter Emily, who has disabilities, including cerebral palsy, that affect her motor skills. "We needed a bigger wheelchair," said Story, whose husband, Donald, works for the Chesterfield police department. "We have good health coverage, but they cap durable medical equipment," Story said. Durable medical equipment includes such items as crutches, braces, prostheses, hospital beds, walkers, braces and wheelchairs. Story said she learned about the foundation grant program from Chesterfield's social-services department. According to the foundation, 16 grants were given in Virginia in 2008, and 15 were awarded in 2009. Grants with a value of $1.4 million were awarded to 450 children across the U.S. in 2009. Applications, which have to be submitted online, are reviewed by regional boards, including doctors. Typical grant recipients are seeking services for a child with autism, speech delay, cerebral palsy, hearing loss and developmental delay, according to the foundation website. Story said her daughter would have gotten a wheelchair eventually. "I guess I would have put it on the charge card," she said. The program excludes some items, including dental care, special vehicles, service dogs, camps and home modifications. Local health and child-care advocates contacted were not familiar with the program, which has awarded grants since 1999. Health insurers have been clobbered this past year for planning large premium-rate increases, so it makes sense that they want to highlight positive programs. Anthem, the state's largest health plan, doesn't have a program specific to helping families pay for children's medical needs, said spokesman Scott Golden. "We do have a foundation, but it is more open and doesn't support one specific charity or initiative," Golden said. "We've supported a number of groups and initiatives in the Richmond area through our foundation. Golden said examples of projects supported by the WellPoint Foundation in the past three years include: $215,000 to the Bon Secours Richmond Health Care Foundation for the Care-A-Van; $141,000 to help create SeniorNavigator.com; and $300,000 to the Virginia Health Care Foundation.