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Pastor and Wife Urge Others to Get Covered

18th September 2014 by Anya Krenicki Comments Off

Kidd

LaRue and Cassandra Kidd—Chicago, IL  

LaRue and Cassandra Kidd were dropped by their insurance provider. Now, they are enrolled in a Marketplace plan and are spreading the word about the Affordable Care Act to their church and community.

Pastor LaRue Kidd and his wife Cassandra say that their introduction to the health insurance Marketplace last December came at the “perfect” time for them.

Pastor Kidd’s church, Chicago’s True Light Baptist Church, is too small to qualify for group insurance policy rates, and Cassandra’s part time job did not offer coverage to part time employees; as such, prior to the Affordable Care Act, the couple had opted for a private insurance plan.

They had been making due when, suddenly, their insurance provider dropped them, stating Pastor Kidd’s pre-existing condition as the reason for termination of coverage.

Fortunately, the Kidd’s were aware of the upcoming changes that the Affordable Care Act was bringing to the world of health coverage. In fact, they were already spreading the word to others.

“We did try to host some events at our church to make other  people in our church and in our community aware of the Marketplace,” says Cassandra, “[We] provided assistance signing up for those that needed it…we tried to get as many people that we know aware of it as well.”

In December 2013, the Kidd’s went online to healthcare.gov and began to review their coverage options.

“The things that were important to us were the coverage and the cost,” says Cassandra.

The couple was able to select a plan that met their needs in both areas and to enroll online. They say that ever since their plan began coverage in January 2014, they have been able to visit the doctor several times.

“We go to the doctor regularly, not because we have health issues per se,” says Cassandra, “but, you know, to stay abreast of check-ups and that sort of thing. We have a $30 co-pay, which I think is average. But one of the things that we did notice is that we had more coverage for less money [compared to our previous plan]. There are some prescriptions we have filled regularly on a monthly basis that we don’t pay for.”

The Kidd’s say that they plan on continuing to host health care enrollment events at their church, including an event at the end of this month.

“We are very pleased at this point,” says Cassandra.

Illinois Teen Gets Covered

11th September 2014 by Anya Krenicki Comments Off

Johnathan Hill

Johnathan Hill—Hometown, IL   

Johnathan spent a year uninsured. Now, thanks to ACA expanded adult Medicaid, he is able to access the care he needs.

About a year ago, Johnathan Hill—then 18 years old—found himself uninsured. Previously covered under his mother’s insurance, Hill and his mother had anticipated that Hill would switch to his father’s plan. Once he had been dropped from his mother’s plan, however, Hill’s father realized that he could not afford to add Johnathan to his coverage plan.

Without coverage from either parent, and no coverage offered by his part-time employer, Johnathan was stuck.

“I didn’t visit the doctor,” says Hill, who was uninsured for a year. “I really wanted to a lot of times, but I didn’t because of the money that I knew it was going to cost me. At one time, I did go to the doctor. I believe it cost me $2,000. That was crazy.”

“That year, I was nervous about getting a check-up,” says Hill. “I hadn’t been to the doctor in a while and I always wanted to, you know. I just want to be safe with my body.”

Recently, Hill says that he has been suffering from ongoing tooth pain, which has affected both his peace of his mind and his ability to eat comfortably.

Hill met Campaign for Better Health Care Navigator Cheryl Gay at a local food pantry where she informed him that the Affordable Care Act had expanded the adult Medicaid program in Illinois. Together, they discovered that Hill was eligible for the Medicaid program, and he was able to enroll that day.

“I really appreciate everything [Campaign for Better Health Care] did to help me out,” says Hill. “I’m really happy that I can actually go to the dentist now and get this taken care of.”

Hill says that he has since visited the dentist and had his problematic wisdom tooth pulled.

“Once again thank you and everyone else and Cheryl for helping me out,” says Hill.

A Mother Helps Her Son Get Insured

4th September 2014 by Anya Krenicki Comments Off

Yvette and Joshua Johnson

Joshua and Yvette Johnson—Park Forest, IL  

Yvette Johnson wanted to make sure that her son Joshua had adequate health coverage when he went off to college, no matter the cost. Now that Joshua is enrolled in adult Medicaid, Yvette and her family can save over $200 a month.

When it comes to health insurance for her son Joshua, Yvette Johnson says that there is no question: he has to have it.

Prior to Joshua’s 18th birthday, he was enrolled in KidCare (now called AllKids), an Illinois state program that offers children comprehensive, affordable health care. Once he turned 18, however, he was no longer eligible for the program. Yvette immediately transferred him to her employer’s health insurance.

“At that point I needed to put him on [my insurance,]” says Yvette. “I didn’t want him to go away to school, his first year at school, [and] if something happened and he wasn’t able to get medical services.”

“Me being a single parent with one income, that’s how it’s been for me and raising my children,” says Yvette. “Even though I really couldn’t afford that extra money coming out of my salary, I just didn’t have a choice. He wasn’t at home and I just had to do it; I just had to sacrifice in order for him to have insurance over these past four years.”

Yvette says that adding Joshua to her insurance set her back a little over $200 a month—about 10 times the amount that she had been paying previously. The cost was well worth it she says, as Joshua ended up in the hospital his freshman year of college in need of an expensive procedure. After 4 years of increased expenses, however, their family was struggling financially. With the help of Campaign for Better Health Care navigator Cheryl Gay, Joshua applied for Medicaid in January of this year. He finally received his medical card in July.

Yvette says that she was thrilled when Joshua’s medical card arrived in the mail.

“I was so happy I got right on the phone [and] I tried to call him,” she says. “I couldn’t reach him so I sent him a text message and told him to call me right away. I was definitely excited. I was able to inform my company’s [insurance provider] and I told her that my son finally got approved for his own insurance and I would like to take him off my insurance. I got my first installment back onto my check and that extra hundred dollars or something was looking real good. I was even more happy when I saw that!”

Yvette says that Joshua is currently working a part-time job while he finishes up his last year of schooling.

“Hopefully one day he will be able to get a job that will pay him enough or get some benefits through his employer,” says Yvette. “In the meantime, I feel some security.”

According to Yvette, Joshua says it best when it comes to his experience obtaining health care coverage: “He’s grateful, that’s the word he said,” says Yvette. “He said ‘Only thing I have to say ma, is one word—I’m grateful.’”

Coverage Days Before A Health Emergency

28th August 2014 by Anya Krenicki Comments Off

Timothy Royce 

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.”

Single Mother Able to Afford Her Children’s Prescriptions

21st August 2014 by Anya Krenicki Comments Off

Leib

Carrie L.—Midlothian, IL

For three years, Carrie was making due without health insurance. An unemployed single mother of two, Carrie says that the costs of her teenage children’s doctor visits were straining their family budget.  Her 14-year-old son suffers from ADHD and must make monthly doctor appointments to secure his prescription medication; combined, the appointments and prescriptions cost over $200 a month, says Carrie.

During a visit to Operation Blessing, a food pantry in Alsip, IL, Carrie was referred to a Campaign for Better Health Care navigator, Cheryl Gay. With Cheryl’s help, Carrie discovered that she and her children were eligible for Medicaid coverage. She says that she is so thankful to have help covering the costs of their routine doctor physicals and care: “[This] has made my life complete,” says Carrie.