Orange County family faces huge medical bill as 3-year-old boy awaits heart surgery

ORANGE, Calif. (KABC) -- In two weeks, Noah Connally will celebrate his fourth birthday, but unlike most children his age, he has endured two open heart surgeries.

"His first surgery was when he was in utero. I was still expecting Noah," said Niccole Connally. "His first open heart surgery was when he was five days old."

Noah was born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, which means only half of his heart is fully formed and functioning. Last week, the Orange County family flew to Boston for a potentially life changing surgery.

"He is here to get a bi-ventricular repair, which will use his own body parts to give him a full working heart," said Connally.

Boston Children's Hospital is one of the few, if not the only, pediatric hospitals that can perform this type of surgery, and it's not offered in California. But the Connally's insurance company, Anthem Blue Cross of California, denied the coverage.

"Hours before we left for our trip here last week, we got a call saying that you have not been pre-authorized to have this surgery. So we immediately appealed," said Sean Connally, Noah's dad.

They were denied again after being told the hospital was outside their network.

"The heart surgery that they are offering us will one day lead to transplant. We don't want California's option. We want more for our son," said Niccole Connally.

They are moving forward with surgery even though they are facing a million dollar medical bill.

"We are prepping to live a life of fundraising, and if that means living a life in debt so Noah gets the best that he can, then that is what we are choosing to do," said Connally.

A spokesperson for Anthem Blue Cross of California released this statement:

"We cannot comment on the specifics of this case due to privacy laws unless authorized by the member. Anthem Blue Cross of California is committed to providing our members with access to quality and affordable health care services and support to help manage their health needs. Anthem Blue Cross' provider network includes many nationally recognized facilities that excel in treating patients with challenging, highly-complex medical needs, including performing the procedure referenced in your email, also known as 'biventricular repair.' Specifically, these services and procedures are available in California at several renowned facilities including Children's Hospital of Los Angeles, Rady Children's Hospital in San Diego, and Lucile Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford."

To learn more about Noah and how to help the family click on the link.
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