‘Extremely frustrating:’ Contact 6 helps Hartford woman get back on her feet

HARTFORD -- Every step is painful for one Hartford woman. She knows exactly what she needs to make the pain go away, but has been waiting months for the insurance company to say, "Yes."

"So I was born without half of my left foot," said Hope Drews.

Putting one foot in front of the other is a literal challenge for Drews. She has had the same prosthetic foot for a few years now.

"This is some old duct tape," Drews said. "It hurts. It rubs on the top."

Without the tape, the prosthesis would fold in half. Walking is painful.

"I just get tired and my feet hurt and my hips hurt," Drews said.

Getting insurance companies to cover a replacement has never been a problem -- until now. It has been four months since Drews' doctor prescribed a new prosthetic foot.

"It's extremely frustrating and it's quite heartbreaking," Drews said.

Drews' stepmother said they have been denied three times by UnitedHealthcare -- and filed two appeals.

"We get these generic answers. 'Well, it exceeds your covered benefit.' But no one can tell me exactly what the covered benefit is," said Monica Drews.

Monica Drews

The longer Drews waits, the harder it is to go about her life.

Bernadette Kramer

Bernadette Kramer of the "On This Leg" amputee support group said insurance will usually offer some level of coverage.

"They need to have some device that works properly, fits properly," said Kramer. "Reviewing and getting new prosthesis every so many years is very typical and necessary."

Out of pocket, Drews' replacement costs $4,000 to $6,000.

"So we thought we'd reach out to you and see what you can do," Monica Drews said.

Contact 6 emailed UnitedHealthcare and, days later, got the following response:

"Based on additional information provided by the doctor, we will be covering the prosthesis requested by her doctor."

Drews sent Contact 6 video of her new foot. Her stepmother emailed and said, "I am sure this change was because of your contact with them."

UnitedHealthcare said Drews' family was already going through the appeals process when Contact 6 reached out. Officials said it is good when people do follow up with the appeals process.

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