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Grants To Pay Medical Bills

Grants To Pay Medical Bills

Paying for medical care can put a huge financial strain on families. These grants to pay medical bills can save families thousands of dollars. 


If you have a medically complex child, or a child with a disability, you know the medical bills can be all too overwhelming. Some states have amazing medicaid programs for medically complex children, but if you're not able to access one of those, then the bills can often times feel crippling. Luckily, there are several grants out there that help families pay off medical bills. These some of these grants don't even need to be specific to a disability or long term illness. Some of these grants even help with the random broken arm from your otherwise healthy child. 


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United Healthcare Children's Foundation:

The United Healthcare Children's Foundation grant is a true lifesaver. This grant can be used for any of your children at anytime. The major caveats are that you have to make under a certain income limit (though that limit is rather high and increases with the more children you have), and you have to have private insurance through any insurance company, not just United Healthcare. Meaning, our family has Cigna insurance through my husband's work, and we can still access this grant through United Healthcare. 


This grant will provide $10,000 in grant money over a child's life up to age 18, but will only give you up to $5,000 per year. I've seen families use this money for hearing aides, diabetes supplies, and we've personally used it to pay physical therapy bills several years ago. It will also backdate and pay past medical bills as long as they've occurred within the last six months. For more information you can visit their site here. 


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The Healthwell Foundation:

This foundation aims to help both children and adults with more disease base illnesses. There are grants available for different types of Leukemia, Cystic Fibrosis, and other cancers and illnesses. Average grants are about $3,000 and there is an enrollment process with income restrictions. For this grant you need to have some form of health insurance, but unlike the United Healthcare Children's Foundation, this includes medicaid, medicare, etc... They also have income restrictions, but again, they're very high. You can find all the information about this program here. 

They even have grant money available to help pay bills as a result of covid-19!


Firsthand Foundation:

This foundation is a bit more restrictive than the other ones previously mentioned. This will provide help with medical related travel, vehicle modifications, and other medical procedures, therapies, mobility equipment, etc... The have income restrictions that are much lower than other grant programs, and you cannot have any insurance coverage for the situation that you're trying to get covered. They will award up to three grants from the time a child is 0-18, but is limited to one grant per year. You can see all their eligibility requirements here. 


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Giving Angles Foundation:

This foundation will award a one time $500 grant to families that make under $50,000 per year, and grants are awarded on a case by case basis. They serve individuals 21 and under, and will give funds for life-changing equipment, medical supplies, essential family bills, specialized camps, and therapeutic toys. You can see all of their information here. 


This list is in no way an inclusive list, but I felt like these four options were the best low hanging fruit that would provide the easiest form of help to the widest variety of individuals. An internet search could help you find so many grants that are specific to your area and your child's diagnosis, such as grants for hearing aids, communication devices, autism support, and more. If I have missed out on a grant program that you know of that you really love, please share information in the comments below!


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What Is Shriners Hospital

What Is Shriners Hospital

Shriner's Hospital is an amazing non-profit hospital that is a great financial option for families with medically complex children who have conditions that the hospital serves.


When our daughter was born in 2014 with significant medical issues, we assumed that we were forever going to be in a world of medical debt and that we could look forward to spending thousands of dollars on her medical care each year. No one told us that there were alternative medical systems outside of the big children's hospitals in the cities we lived. While our care was great wherever we went, at some point we had to start advocating for our wallets and figure out a better way.

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When we moved to the Salt Lake City area in 2017, someone had told me to look into Shriner's Hospital for children. It was about 35 minutes from our home, and I didn't think it would be worth the drive, and so I continued care with Primary Children's Hospital, until we had a $1,700 bill for a month of physical therapy and I decided there indeed had to be a better way. That better way was in fact Shriner's Hospital for Children. 


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What is Shriner's Hospital For Children?

Shriner's Hospital for Children is a non-profit medical system and charity that provides medical care to children with disabilities. The only caveat is that they only treat a certain number of conditions. Some Shriner's Hospitals only serve burn patients, some only serve orthopedic conditions, etc... However, if your child has one of the conditions their location serves, it can be an awesome opportunity for you to receive free medical care, which has been the case for us, and a huge blessing to our family. 

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Is Shriner's Hospital Free?

The reason we were excited about Shriner's was the prospect of getting free medical care for our daughter. Shriner's is a charity organization and with the donations they receive, it enters what I understand to be called an "endowment fund" that allows patients to access the funds for medical care. 

To qualify for free services at Shriner's Hospital we simply called and made an appointment. When we were there we spoke to a nurse and asked, "I heard there is a way to get our medical care for free is that true?" She told me on the way out to stop over at the finance office. I literally peeped my head in the door, asked the same question and the person in the office simply asked, "How much does your family make a year?" At the time we were making about $70k so I don't know what the max threshold is but, he simply made a note in his computer, never asked for proof or tax forms, and then told us we shouldn't see a bill for a year, and that when the year is up to come back into his office and he would bump it out another year for us. 

During that time our daughter got physical therapy, occupational therapy, orthopedic consults, appointments with physical medicine rehab, neurology, botox injections, x-rays, leg braces, and we never saw a bill for any of it. They also have amazing programs that can get you setup with mobility equipment, adaptive carseats, we got a free adaptive bike through them, and so much more. 

They will also still bill your insurance which is super nice. Essentially they bill your insurance for your visit, and then whatever your insurance doesn't pay, they cover the rest. This means you can get the care you need without paying out of pocket for it, while also still working down your medical deductible for other members of your family.

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Shriner's Hospital For Children Locations:

Shriner's Hospital for Children has locations all across the United States, and in Canada and Mexico as well. Remember that all locations serve different conditions, so check on their website to see what conditions they treat at your local hospital. The have locations in:
  • Boston, MA
  • Chicago, IL
  • Cincinnati, OH
  • Erie, PA
  • Galveston, TX
  • Greenville, SC
  • Honolulu, HI
  • Lexington, KY
  • Mexico City, MEX
  • Montreal, Quebec
  • Pasadena, CA
  • Philadelphia, PA
  • Portland, OR
  • Sacramento, CA
  • Salt Lake City, UT
  • Shreveport, LA
  • Spokane, WA
  • Springfield, MA
  • St. Louis, MO
  • Tampa, FL
  • Tijuana, B.C.
  • Twin Cities, MN

Which Conditions Does Shriner's Hospital Treat?

Most Shriner's hospitals are only setup to treat 1-2 conditions per hospital, although a small hand-full are able to do quite a few more. The location in Salt Lake City only does Orthopedics, while the location in Sacramento does that along with five other conditions. It's completely different with each location. The overall conditions they do serve are:
  • Burn Care
  • Cleft Lip and Palate
  • Orthopedics
  • Pediatric Surgery
  • Spinal Cord Injury

I would say orthopedics is the number one condition that most of their hospitals serve, so if your child is in need of PT/OT/SLP, and they happen to have a condition such as cerebral palsy, club foot, limb differences, scoliosis, etc... They can get the treatment and care they need at Shriner's. 

For us our daughter has CP, so we got a bulk of our care through Shriner's but then used the local children's hospital for back up as needed if she needed something like GI, Cardiology, etc... Doing this saved us so much money over the years and we're so grateful for the care we received there. 

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Shriner's Outreach Clinics:

If you don't live near a Shriner's hospital, but want to receive care through one, they do outreach clinics where the doctors and staff from one local Shriner's will travel to treat patients in another city and state that otherwise would not have access to the benefits of Shriner's Hospital. For instance, the Salt Lake City team travels to Denver, Colorado; Phoenix, Arizona; and El Paso, Texas. So it's worth checking out their website to find the closets Shriner's to you, and then call and see what other areas they're serving through outpatient clinics. (This information can also be found by clicking the Shriner's closest to you on their site, and then navigating to the "patients and families" tab, and then clicking on the patients services option and see what they're offering in your area. 

Have you or your child received care at a Shriner's Hospital? I would love to hear about your experience in the comments below!

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How To Help Child With Anxiety

How To Help Child With Anxiety

If your child struggles with anxious behavior here are several ways to help your child with anxiety.


Our oldest son has struggled with anxiety for as long as he could talk. The signs showed early on in life when we would take him to playgroups as a toddler and we wouldn't play with the other kids. We took him to music classes as a preschooler and he would distance himself from everyone else and not participate. As he got older and started attending school, his ability to remove himself from anxiety provoking situations became more difficult, which eventually led to escalating behaviors. 


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Throughout all of this my husband and I constantly found ourselves pushing school counselors, doctors, teachers etc,... for help, only for all of our attempts to be swept under the rug. We were told he'd grow out of it. We were told it's because he's a boy. We were told it was because he was a year younger than everyone in his class. We heard all of these excuses but no solutions for help. It was so defeating. 


This year for better or worse things got so bad that people finally had to listen. Do I wish things never got to the point that they did? Absolutely yes. Did it cause so much physical and emotional pain for me to see my son struggling the way he was? Definitely. But help finally came. 


These strategies are things we've personally worked on over the years, including what we finally did this school year that made all the difference. There are so many self calming strategies that you can work on at home, but if you find that they're not working for your child, don't hesitate to seek professional help! 


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Childhood Anxiety Symptoms:

  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Not sleeping or sleep walking
  • Not eating
  • Quickly getting irritable or angry, and being out of control during outbursts
  • Constantly worrying or having negative thoughts
  • Being tense or fidgety
  • Frequent bathroom use
  • Crying, clinging
  • Complaining of abdominal pain

How To Help Child With Anxiety

These are all things that we've done throughout the years to help our child with anxiety. Some of them have worked at different times, but ultimately seeing a speech therapist is what made the biggest difference for our son. If you find you've gone through most of these steps only for them to not work, seek medical help and don't stop pushing until someone will see your child and offer help. 

Find a Friend For Your Child:

Our son does a lot better in social situations when he knows he's going to have a friend with him. Whether that's a friend in his class at school, on the soccer team, etc... if he knows at least one person he's a lot more likely to participate and be okay.

For several different reasons we'd unenrolled our son from public school last year. We sent him back to school this year, and one of his best friends ended up being in his class. I personally think that made a huge difference in getting the year off on a good start and helping him feel comfortable with going back to school.

If your child doesn't have someone they know, try to connect with one of the parents and setup playdates to get together and help a friendship form. 


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Don't Avoid Situations Because of Anxiety:

I've found avoiding situations only makes things worse. When our son was little, his preschool music class was a big anxiety provoking thing for him. We kept going each week and slowly built it up so that he would participate in most of the activities, but it happened over time with baby steps. One week he'd get instruments on his own, the next week he'd actually play the instrument, the next week he'd sit with the other kids instead of with me, then he'd play in the gym and run with the other kids, and then he'd sit for the story time and listen. It didn't happen over night, but after months of sticking it out, he eventually became more at ease. 

Don't Label Your Child to People:

We used to go around all the time with a disclaimer saying Kyle was shy. He heard us telling people this and then he started identifying himself as shy. When he was three we were having people over for dinner and he said, "I'm going to go to my room and be shy". We've since learned to not talk about it in front of him, and try to build him up with positive affirmations. "You are brave, you are a child of God, you are kind, etc..." to try and get him to have a positive dialogue within himself. 

Fidget Toys for Anxiety:

When our son was younger he used to go everywhere with a small yellow duck puppet that was really comforting to him and made him more relaxed in social situations. As he's gotten older he hasn't needed it in years. For an older child though this could look like a fidget spinner, a small stress ball, something they can hold and fidget with to make themselves more comfortable. 

For children that pick the skin on their fingers, bite their nails, etc... some sort of fidget toy would be a great way to direct their energy towards something that doesn't have the potential to cause them harm. 

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Exercise Helps Anxiety:

Physical exercise is proven to be a really great way to help both children and adults deal with anxiety. We've done lots of different types of body movement with our kids like running, soccer, basketball, etc... but the one that our son likes the most is Yoga! He does CosmicKids Yoga on Youtube several times a week and it's something that he really enjoys, and it's great for his body, mind, spirit, etc... 

We've found for us personally that although our son likes playing sports, they often trigger more anxiety. Soccer seems to be a safe outlet that he really enjoys, but cross country running was a major flop for us a few years ago. It make take some trial and error to see what your child enjoys. 

When To Seek Professional Help for Anxiety:

If you've tried a wide variety of self help tools and none of them seem to be working for your child, it's a good time to consider seeking professional help. Signs it may be time for this step is if your child's anxiety is not getting better, or even getting worse. Strategies you're working on at home are not working, or it's affecting school, friendships, family life, etc... 

Speech Therapy for Anxiety:

Where we live finding mental health services is extremely difficult. Everyone is booked out months in advance, in our case doctors told us he was fine, and it was a nightmare to get him to the right place. One of our son's symptoms was an unwillingness or inability to speak in stressful situations. As a last stitch effort we took him to a speech therapist and it actually made all the difference. 

She worked with him on a program called EET or Expanded Expression Tool, that helped him to find the words that were trapped in his brain that he could not find to express his needs. It also helped him in the classroom to be a better creative writer and thinker, which was definitely not a goal we were after but a benefit that has been amazing. 

Another program he worked on was Whole Body Listening. These books take kids through different social situations and teach them the skills they need to be able to handle various scenarios in their life. These books really illustrated to our son what to do in specific situations and we'd talk about them at home again, and again, and again. 

I've always loved the saying, "Kids do well when they can." The truth is, some kids just lack skills and that is not a downfall on you as a parent. We tried our best for a long time to be enough for our son and teach him these things, but as a parent, you're not expected to be able to handle and do everything. That's why we have professionals who can step in and help. For our child speech therapy made all the difference. For yours it might be a child psychologist, occupational therapy, medication, etc... the thing that makes a difference will look different for everyone but don't stop fighting until you find the right fit! It's so worth it!

Have you had a child who struggles with anxiety? I'd love to hear what was the thing that made the biggest difference for them in the comments below!

If you like this post, How To Help Child with Anxiety, you might also like:

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