A Virginia teenager who lost his leg in a freak incident in New York’s Central Park in July will receive insurance coverage for his prosthetic limb.
The teen’s family reported months of struggles in securing financial assistance from their medical insurance company after the injury.
Days after inquiries from the News4 I-Team, the insurance company reversed course and announced it will cover a large share of the teen’s medical expenses.
Connor Golden, a graduate of Oakton High School in Fairfax County, suffered a grievous injury to one of his legs after stepping on an explosive in Central Park during the Fourth of July weekend. The cost of the prosthetic treatment has already reached $20,000, according to medical records shared by the Golden family. The Goldens said their insurer, United Healthcare, declined requests to help pay for Connor’s prosthetic leg for months.
Last month, Golden’s father showed the I-Team a series of correspondences between the family and United Healthcare in which the insurer cited hurdles to processing Golden’s medical claims and denied service.
“It’s maddening and frustrating,” Kevin Golden said. “At a time when you're trying to be focused on the more important things, you have to be dealing with an insurance company."
Last week, days after inquiries from the I-Team, United Healthcare spokeswoman Maria Gordon-Shydlo said the insurer decided to cover Connor Golden’s expenses.
“While we regret any inconvenience this may have caused, this provider is not in our network, so we needed to review additional information in order to process these claims appropriately,” Gordon-Shydlo wrote. “We have since received this information and are paying for this prosthesis. We also approved coverage of a new socket and new prosthesis.”
Despite the temporary victory for the Goldens, advocates for amputees say denials and delays of payment for artificial limbs are constant problems.
“We’re not talking here about a one-off,” National Association for the Advancement of Orthotics & Prosthetics President Dave McGill said. “We’re talking about something we all hear over and over again.”
Police have not announced an arrest in connection with the explosives that injured Connor Golden. They’ve issued a reward of $25,000 for information.
Golden now attends college in Florida.
Reported by Scott MacFarlane and produced by Rick Yarborough.