In talking with parents of kids who have a chronic illness or medically complex condition or even a premature birth, I have yet to hear the words, “Oh, yeah, we totally expected this.” No matter where we are in life, there’s always that bit of shock that “this is happening to me.” Whether you have worked hard your whole life or not, when drastic changes come that we didn’t expect it is a hard pill to swallow.
In general we here in Wyoming pride ourselves on our independence and ability to take care of our own. When that diagnosis comes or you suddenly find yourself on a life flight out of state, we still want to be able to take care of everything that our child needs. And sometimes we simply can’t. So then what? We may have to use that four letter word - HELP.
Before I jump into a few ways to find help covering some of the bills that are adding up in your times of distress, let me first say that asking for help when in need is a sign of strength. A friend of mine and partner at the Orr’s Hope Foundation - Shannon Orr - uses the phrase “a hand up, not a hand out” and I think she’s really onto something. If you are struggling under financial burdens, a hand up is what you need. So I applaud you from the beginning of this blog for considering asking for help to get a hand up to keep moving forward. For your kid(s). For you.
Check and Re-check with Your Insurance - have your provider or a social worker help you get all of the information you need about your child’s medical history and needs to be ready to take on the daunting task of calling your insurance company. And don’t quit calling. Some nurses or social workers can even help make those calls to advocate on your behalf. It doesn’t mean they will always be able to cover everything you need, but you may find some things that, with a little persistence, open up for you. And every little bit helps.
What if you don’t have insurance? These same social workers can help you navigate through the Marketplace to find something suitable for your family, including CHIP if there is a need to have your child covered for some things before you’re able to get back on insurance. There is also Medicaid that your child might be approved to receive. There are options! Don’t give up!
Problem Solve with Your Provider - is there similar medication for a fraction of the price? Have you heard about the medication assistance programs like NeedyMeds that can offer discounts on certain medications? Oftentimes, we need to travel for our child’s care. Does your out of state provider partner with any outreach clinics, like the one we have here at the Olivia Caldwell Foundation with Children’s Hospital Colorado? If possible, maybe these outreach clinics can help with doctor visit costs simply by having to travel a shorter distance and miss less work.
Wyoming-solid Foundations and Organizations - there are so many wonderful foundations, organizations, state programs, churches and individuals who are willing to offer a hand up to support you while you care for your child. Not sure what’s in your area? Not sure what you would qualify for? Not even sure how if you found both of those answers how to apply or connect to that entity? I’m here to help.
The Patient Advocacy Program is all about connecting families with a child who has a chronic illness or medically complex condition to the supports that are all across our state! I can help connect you to these groups.
For assistance with any of these pieces or something unrelated to finances, please contact me at 307.333.1273 or firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d be so happy to help you find your hand up and cheer you on as you keep moving forward in caring for your family!