By J.A., Polk County
I moved to Florida from Illinois in January 2018. In Illinois I had Medicaid for insurance. I had a good doctor and received good care. When I moved to Florida, I applied for Florida Medicaid several times and was denied each time. When I asked why, I was told that Illinois still had me covered in their Medicaid system. This was strange to me because I’d told them that I was moving to Florida before I even left the state. I called and told them to take me out of the system. They said that they would but that didn’t happen. They didn’t remove me until October of 2018. By that time, I’d had to visit the Emergency Room in Florida several times for breathing treatments. Illinois Medicaid would not pay for the visits so the hospital started sending me the bills. The hospital staff tried to work with me and even called the Illinois Medicaid office who said that I was insured through Illinois. But Illinois never paid the bills. Now those bills have gone to collections and bill collectors are constantly calling me. In October I got a job and signed up for their health insurance-- that’s when Illinois removed me from their system.
Last December I was attacked and stabbed seven times. I was told that the State’s Victim’s Compensation fund would pay for my medical bills and income that I missed because I couldn’t work. The Victim’s Compensation fund paid for most of my medical expenses, but not all of them. I received a bill from the ambulance company and recently got a hospital bill for $1,000. They never reimbursed me for the work that I missed, which was almost $2,000. Now, I’m being harassed by bill collectors. The hospitals even tried to charge some of those medical bills to my work health insurance. My premiums have gone up, and I believe it’s because of those medical bills. The doctors at my local clinic won’t see me because I have outstanding bills with them. I feel like I’m being victimized all over again. I really need to see a doctor because of the pain from the surgeries. I also need to see a counselor, because I’m having a really tough time dealing with everything. My abuser is locked away, but he’s locked away with no worries. He gets free medical care, three meals a day, and a roof over his head. I have to work hard and still don’t have all of those things taken care of. I’m grateful to be alive, but I feel like I’m being abused all over again because I can’t take care of myself.
Right now, I’m thankful that I have insurance through my job. This year I am going to sit down with someone from their office and really find the best plan for me. Currently I have the minimum amount of insurance coverage, but I want to go to a higher tier. I want to be sure I have all the coverage I need to take care of myself.