By Tamisha C., Broward County
I suffer from chronic pain due to a childhood injury. I’ve struggled with the pain for most of my life. While my son was growing up, I was eligible for Medicaid as a parent and caregiver. My son is on the autism spectrum and has a disability.
When I worked, I qualified for the Share of Cost Medicaid program. This was always more difficult than regular Medicaid because I would have to meet a certain amount before Medicaid would pick up and pay. I usually had to cover one bill a month, and the Medicaid would kick in. When I was not working, I qualified for full Medicaid. I had Staywell which was a good program for me. I was able to see doctors and specialists with no issues.
I have not been able to work since 2015 because my pain is so severe. I’m currently trying to get my Medicaid back because I lost it when my son turned 18. He is covered, but I am not, although I continue to be his caretaker. I can’t afford health insurance because I’m living below poverty level. We have enough to cover our rent and electricity. My family helps us cover our household expenses. I do light housework for them in exchange. I’m currently applying for disability. Things aren’t easy.
Right now, I’m waiting to see if I qualify for an income based, community health program through Memorial Health Network. That’s my back up plan in case my Medicaid does not come through. It’s still kind of under-insured, but it’s better than not having anything. If I’m accepted, I will be able to see a general doctor and specialists. I already know that my pain management doctor is out of their network, so I will have to pay out of pocket to continue seeing him. It cost me $75 per doctor’s visit. That’s somewhat manageable, but I don’t know if my medications will be covered. Lately I’ve had to cut back on my medications so that I have enough to last until I get my Medicaid back.
I’m concerned because now I have a pre-existing condition. I got a quote for a private health insurance plan which costs about $300 a month. For me and my fiancé they wanted $720 a month. If I could have afforded that I would, but that’s not affordable at the moment.
When I had Medicaid, I had dental insurance as well and had no trouble finding dentists in the Medicaid network. I need a lot of dental work done. They were suggesting a root canal and some other things. I don’t think I can afford any of that at the moment. My son still has dental insurance through Medicaid. I’m having a hard time finding a dentist for him. Every other dentist I’ve talked to doesn’t do sedation or they are not equipped to handle special needs children. My son will not stand or sit still to x-rays. I’m lucky if he stands still to do blood work, much less anything else. So, I’m looking for some a dentist that will help us.