While eight-month-old Jaxon can now enjoy time on his tummy, as a newborn, he spent a lot of time on his back.
"He had a little bit of acid reflux when he was younger," said Chambrae Thornburgh, Jaxon's mother. "So, we kept him inclined in the swing and it put pressure on the back of his head, so he developed a flat spot back there."
Jaxon has what is considered to be a mild case of plagiocephaly, also known as "flat-head syndrome."
The Thornburghs, who have recently become self-employed, decided to pay out of pocket for a special helmet to remold their baby's soft skull. The helmet cost the family nearly $4,000, and is to be worn by Jaxon 23 hours a day for two to four months.
When they went searching for health insurance recently, the Thornburghs said they were stunned that their son was declined time after time. Insurance companies all cited the the baby's flat head as the reason.
"They said the risks were just too high for him to have it," Thornburgh said. "I asked them, 'Well, what risks? Do you know something that I don't about this, because as far as the doctors tell me and everyone, it's not that big of a deal. He's fine. Once he finishes treatment in three months, it will be gone.'"
That's true, said Loa Borchert, who runs the plagiocephaly clinic at Children's Medical Center Dallas.
"They do great," she said of infants who wear the specially-molded helmets.
Borchert said if caught early, plagiocephaly is completely curable, and it doesn't typically cause other health conditions that could cost an insurance company in the future.
"Personally, I don't see where that would be related," she said.
However, the Thornburghs said they have been unable to convince any Insurance agency. In the meantime, their son is left uncovered by health insurance, meaning vaccinations and other medical care must be paid for up front.
"We can't afford to take him to the doctor anywhere now, just because we can't afford the doctor's visits and the tests and everything," Thornburgh said. "We're just waiting it out trying to see what we can do."
After being contacted by News 8, UnitedHealthCare reviewed their original decision and decided to "offer coverage" to the Thornburghs.
Under health care reform, insurance companies would not be able to deny coverage, even for serious pre-existing health conditions.
After experiencing a crisis in coverage themselves, the Thornburghs said they hope Congress works fast to draft another plan.