PAWTUCKET, R.I. — Entertainment conglomerate Hasbro announced plans to unveil a new toy designed to resonate specifically with disabled children. The “My First Insurance Denial” play set will give kids the opportunity to simulate the experience of receiving a denial for coverage of medical equipment and follow-up procedures from an insurance company.
“I’ve always loved role-playing games and wanted to create something similar here,” said Patrick Cooper, the toy’s developer. “My brother has cerebral palsy, and every time he asks his insurance company to cover a piece for his wheelchair or something else, he has to go through like five steps to get a denial. Then he starts the appeal process, and it’s a never-ending cycle. Thinking about this scenario as a game gave me an idea.”
The “My First Insurance Denial” set comes with five 3.75-inch action figures, scale models of buildings for each figure, and a built-in toy phone. Players start with a wheelchair user and their caregiver at home calling their insurance company. Once the insurance representative sends the first denial, the wheelchair user then calls their pharmacy provider for a referral. The pharmacy then calls the client’s primary doctor for a referral, which results in a back-and-forth exchange that can go on for days.
“What I really like about this set is that kids can play with it for hours and not get bored,” Cooper said. “There are so many moving parts to insurance denials. Plus, the kids have to really use their creative and imaginative skills to figure out a scenario in which the disabled character actually gets their request approved.”
In addition to the figures that come with the set, Cooper and his team are also developing additional characters to play into the narrative aspect of this toy, which consumers can buy separately. These include figures for an occupational therapist, a physical therapist, a neurologist, and a wheelchair sales representative.
“We really think this could open doors for other disability-themed toys,” Cooper said. “I’ve already pitched the ‘Ouchie! The Incompetent Phlebotomist Draws Blood’ board game and the ‘Kidney Stone Blaster’ toy, both of which my brother said he liked.”