Timothy Royce—Blue Island, IL
Timothy Royce struggled to manage his COPD before he enrolled in Medicaid. Luckily, he enrolled in time to fill his dwindling prescription supply and to cope with an unexpected emergency.
When Timothy Royce slipped and fell in the shower, he says he was certain he had broken his ribs. Intense pain accompanied a huge bruise along his side—“It really, really hurt,” he says.
Luckily, Royce enrolled in Medicaid just about a week prior to his accident. Royce says that he and his wife got word of a Campaign for Better Health Care navigator, Cheryl Gay, who was enrolling patrons of a local food bank in health care plans. Both decided to enroll during a routine visit to the food bank.
“I was instantly completely relieved,” says Royce. “[Being uninsured] is a thing that hangs over my head every day… [Medicaid] came in real handy to be able to get to the hospital in order to get taken care of.”
Fortunately, Royce says that the doctors confirmed he had not broken any ribs. He had, however, separated the cartilage between them. The doctors were able to provide him with pain medication while he healed.
Prior to obtaining Medicaid coverage, Royce was uninsured for over half a year. At the end of 2013, Royce’s employer, PetSmart, stopped offering health coverage to their part-time employees.
Royce, an animal lover, has worked at PetSmart for around 9 years, he says.
“My family owned a farm when I was a kid,” he says. “I’ve always been around animals. I have pretty much no fear of them, so I get to take care of all of the animals at the store.”
When the company stopped offering health insurance, however, Royce says he didn’t have anywhere else to turn. He could not afford a private health plan, so he did without.
“I’ve avoided going [to the doctor], but my main problem is that I have COPD [Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease],” says Royce. “When I was a little kid I had double pneumonia and ever since then my lungs have been goofed up. It is always hanging around; it is more scary than anything else. If I don’t have my inhaler around, it’s done. I gotta have it.”
Royce says that the last prescription he filled for his condition cost him $340 per monthly dose—even with his past insurance. He says that with the help of friends, and by trying to manage with half-doses, he has been able to make it through.
With his new insurance, Royce was able to make a doctor’s appointment in the nick of time to re-fill his prescription.
“Frankly we needed [insurance],” he says. “Trying not to go to the hospital, and trying not to get hurt and to be careful, there are always things that happen around here. Trying to take care of everything ourselves, stuff like that just doesn’t work.”
“It is a big load off my mind, and it is nice to know that there is actually help out there,” says Royce. “It’s a big relief …I feel a lot better about things.”