When Health Insurance Failed, My Community Came Together

After waiting for over a year, my new power wheelchair finally arrived in March of this year. My old wheelchair was over five years old, so it was time for a new one. I was excited when I went to the clinic for my initial evaluation. As anyone who has gone through the steps of obtaining a new wheelchair or other specialized equipment will tell you, it is often a very long and confusing process.

I went through the process of trying out different types of chairs. I picked out the color of my new chair, which is red, just like my old one. My health insurance denied the chair in its entirety at first. However, with more substantial letters of medical necessity from my team at Boston Children’s Hospital, they eventually approved the chair. I was relieved when I received that news in the mail.

My insurance, however, denied the seat elevation function on my new power wheelchair because they deemed it not to be “medically necessary.” I utilize the seat elevation function to help me accomplish tasks such as brushing my teeth and reaching high cabinets in the kitchen of my apartment or filling up a glass of water. This function has proven beneficial when I am in science classes and doing a lab. The seat elevation function on my power wheelchair also helps reduce the strain on my neck because I can be at eye level with people. Initially, I did try to appeal the decision that the insurance company had made. However, the insurance company came back with the same answer.

Feeling a bit discouraged by the insurance company’s decision, I pondered other ways I might be able to obtain the seat elevation function on my wheelchair. Ultimately, I decided to start a GoFundme page to see if I could crowdfund the necessary money. I wouldn’t say I like asking for help more than I need to, but I decided to give it a shot. I created a page which didn’t take more than five minutes.

I sent the link out to friends, family, and acquaintances. I didn’t know what to expect. Within hours, donations were appearing on my page. People’s kindness genuinely humbled me. Even some people whom I didn’t know donated money so I could have the seat elevator on my new chair. I appreciated every donation and share of my page. Within a couple of days, I was able to pay for the seat elevator. My new chair arrived on March 22, 2021, and because of people’s kindness, it was a much more momentous occasion.

To all of the people who donated and shared my campaign: please know that I am forever grateful for your support. Your kindness has allowed me to live a more independent life and explore more of the world around me. I have so much more freedom and independence, thanks to your generosity. It is difficult to express in words how much your support means to me.

1 comment

  1. Wonderful post. I’ve recently gone through a very similar situation. I haven’t had elevation before so I’m still finding out how useful it is. I love grocery shopping now reaching whatever I want and passing people at or above their level. I have spastic CP as well. But congratulations!!!

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