LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Holton Weingrad will likely never be the child his parents envisioned when he was born in October of 2014.
At 11 weeks old, Holton suffered a traumatic brain injury and stopped breathing in the care of his former nanny. Now, nearly two years later, the toddler has daily seizures.
“Can’t lift his head. He can’t eat,” the child’s father Eric Weingrad said. “He has trouble breathing at times. He can’t sit up. Can’t walk. Can’t crawl. Can’t communicate.”
His parents said he needs around-the-clock specialized care. When they’re at work, the toddler is with his nurse, Laura, usually eight to 10 hours a day at the West Los Angeles home.
“If things go bad, she’s qualified to make the right decisions, and where a nanny isn’t,”the father said.
Earlier this summer, the family’s insurance, which is through Angela Weingrad’s work, switched from Anthem Blue Cross to United Healthcare.
Eric Weingrad said the employer’s insurance broker assured them Holton’s coverage would not change.
But almost immediately, Weingrad said they were informed Holton’s in-home nursing care was no longer covered.
When they complained, United Healthcare promised to pay. But last week, the insurance company broke that promise, according to Weingrad.
“I don’t know what their goal is besides saving some bucks. But all they’re doing is hurting a family that’s been hurting for the past two years,” said Weingrad.
As a courtesy, the agency that provides the nursing care has extended that care through Friday.
But after that, if the insurance company doesn’t pay the agency, the Weingrads will have to pay out of pocket at a cost of $40 to $50 per hour.
“We’ve just been beaten up. And every time we get back up off the mat, it feels like someone punches us right back in the face,” Weingrad explained.
United Healthcare issued a statement saying: “We are working with the Weingrad family to address Holton’s health care needs.”
“You have one option, and that’s to fighting for your child because no one else will,” Holton’s father said.