Divorce Left My Son With No Health Care
By Kelly C., Broward County
My son was diagnosed with auditory processing issues when he was little. Auditory processing issues are in the autism family. He has difficulty learning and has a lowered immune system. Needless to say, he and I have become very familiar with doctors, tests, and health insurance.
When my husband and I divorced, our son’s health insurance coverage started to fluctuate. Unfortunately, when a divorce happens, the kid is the victim. A child has no choice in what their parents do or don’t do, but the child often pays the price. It’s just a bad situation all around. My salary was a little too high for my son to qualify for Medicaid. He qualified for Healthy Kids for short periods of time. However, when his father paid child support, my son would be bumped from Healthy Kids. Even when he had Healthy Kids, it was a difficult insurance to use. They were very restrictive about the services they would cover, and they barely covered his basic care. My son needs a lot of care. He’s had several surgeries and needs to see doctors on a regular basis. He currently has Medicaid, but will lose it soon since he’s almost 18 years old.
When my son has Medicaid, one of our biggest challenges is consistency with providers through the Medicaid office. There are times when my son and I show up at one of his appointments only to be told by the office staff that he has been switched to a different Medicaid provider. This would sometimes mean canceled appointments because the doctor’s offices don’t always accept the new insurance. Other times, we get stuck because the new provider requires a pre-approval or referral. Dealing with a health system that runs you in crazy circles makes it hard for a parent with a child.
Fighting to make sure my son had consistent health insurance coverage was difficult. Even more upsetting for me was the fact that I had health insurance coverage through Veterans Affairs. I have two autoimmune diseases and need to see a doctor regularly. I was in the military for almost ten years and departed with health insurance coverage. The VA coverage, though, is only for the Veteran. They don’t cover children unless you retire, in which case you have Tricare. The military explained the health insurance rules, so I’m not upset or surprised that my son doesn’t have coverage. I’m very thankful to have the coverage through the VA. It’s a bit of a drive to reach my appointments, but it’s fine.
My son is currently 17 years old and will be 18 in a few months. I’ve been talking to his father about his upcoming birthday and need for insurance because his Medicaid will end. His dad has finally decided to add him to his health insurance plan. So as of September 1, he will have Blue Cross and Blue Shield. It’s been eight and a half years of waiting, but finally, he will be fully covered.