Anthem Blue Cross denies wheelchair for paralyzed toddler

FRESNO, Calif. -- An insurance battle has a Kingsburg family looking for help for their 2-year-old son. He's paralyzed from the waist down and they can't get their insurance company to pay for a new wheelchair. The provider says it's not medically necessary. Crue Allred was born with spina bifida. His parents say by denying funding of a wheelchair the insurance company is denying their boy his independence.

Crue is a tough two-year-old to keep up with, when he's allowed to be mobile. He is a pro at wheeling around in his current $1,100 wheelchair. But because it's so low to the ground, and has small wheels he often gets stuck.

"I feel like it's in his best interest to be able to be independent and get around on his own and learn that he can do things on his own by getting a wheelchair," said his mother, Aubrey Allred.

The wheelchair he uses now is also limiting. Crue doesn't have access to what many of us take for granted.

"If he wants to color I have to take him from his chair, sit him at a table to color or anything at a table... dinner, anything," Aubrey said. "He has to be set into something different because his chair doesn't reach those places."

Since October Crue's parents have been pleading with their health care provider, Anthem Blue Cross, to cover the cost of a regular sized, but lightweight wheelchair.

"It's frustrating beyond what I can even explain," said his father, Joe Allred.

The Allred's say Anthem Blue Cross told them at two-years -old Crue cannot move himself in the wheelchair. And that he should be placed in a stroller until he can get a wheelchair from them when he turns five.

"You pay hundreds of dollars a month for the insurance for them to be there for you when you need them, and they're not," Aubrey said.

"I get the phone call from our provider saying that the claim has been denied, not only once, but twice," said Joe.

Seeing how Crue seems to get himself around with the small chair in video clips posted to Facebook the Allred's friends have started fundraising to get Crue a new and better chair. The cost of the new chair is estimated to be at least $6,000.

Aubrey wants a larger chair to give him more access and teach him what many parents want their kids to grow up knowing. "He has the ability to do whatever he wants to do in life," she said.

Anthem Blue Cross told Action News in an email the family can appeal the decision that this chair isn't necessary for Crue. They plan to do that, but they're not hopeful it will work.

The Allred's fundraising efforts have given them half of the money they need to order Crue's chair.

GoFundMe account:

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