Get Covered America’s #GotCovered Series: After Almost Half a Century, Medicaid is Still Saving, Transforming Lives

Thanks to Outreach from Groups Like Enroll America, More Consumers Than Ever
Have Access to Quality Health Care Thanks to Medicaid

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Washington, DC –  As Medicaid’s 49th Anniversary approaches tomorrow, there is growing evidence that this critical program is providing health care security to more and more low to moderate income American families. Since the beginning of the Affordable Care Act open enrollment period in October, more than 6.7 million people have enrolled in Medicaid and CHIP alone. That increase is particularly noticeable in states that chose to expand Medicaid, which have seen an average 17 percent increase in enrollment since October. But even in non-expansion states, outreach and education efforts from Enroll America and our thousands of partner organizations have created a “welcome mat effect,” and those already eligible for Medicaid have enrolled at higher rates than in previous years.

Additional local resources for determining eligibility, the streamlined application process mandated by the health law, and the opportunity for year-round enrollment are all important factors in this growth. In both expansion and non-expansion states, the challenge is to make sure eligible Americans know about their options. Our latest installment in our #GotCovered series shows that for many, this information cannot come soon enough. Our previous stories are available here.

Charles McClinon – Cincinnati, Ohio

Last August, Get Covered America collected Charles’s contact information so we could follow up with him about his new options under the health care law. Despite the difficulties of living with epilepsy, Charles never let his diagnosis limit him; he graduated from college, worked full-time, and led an active life. Earlier in his career he had been covered by employer insurance, but after moving to Chicago in 2010 to go back to school, he experienced an intense series of seizures causing further damage and a level of disability he hadn’t experienced before. Worse yet, the student health insurance policy he had at the time came with a pre-existing condition clause, and his insurer dropped his policy.

As a 50-year-old-man, he found himself relying on charity care that was intermittent and inadequate – making his condition worse. Side effects from his prescriptions and the worsening of his condition made it difficult for him to secure a full-time job for the first time in his adult life. Saving what little he had after losing his career and home in Chicago, he moved to Cincinnati for the care of a doctor he knew he could depend on. When notice of his Medicaid eligibility came through in January, it signified the end of a long and difficult struggle. For the first time in years, he is covered and is treating his condition with the necessary medical resources. Just this week, he underwent a potentially life-changing procedure. He is thankful that Medicaid coverage finally allows him to move forward with his life.

Frances Acuña – Austin, Texas

Get Covered America staff met Frances in February when she attended an information session held at her local recreation center in Austin, one of hundreds of similar events held across the state. Frances says she felt ‘blessed’ when she learned her 12-year-old son would qualify for Medicaid coverage in Texas when she applied in March. Just months earlier, screenings revealed a tumor in her son’s lower back that would eventually prove cancerous. Facing the many new challenges of caring for him, Frances was overwhelmed. The time she now dedicated to his doctors’ visits and radiation and chemotherapy treatments took a toll on them both – creating emotional and financial obstacles to his recovery.

Fortunately, his new coverage allows her to breathe easier knowing the bills won’t keep piling up. Just this week, Frances says they have reached the halfway mark in his treatment having just completed five weeks of radiation therapy. Even though Texas has not expanded its Medicaid program under the Affordable Care Act, 874,000 uninsured Texans are still eligible. Frances is sharing her story to make sure others know they may qualify.

About Get Covered America and Enroll America

Get Covered America is a national campaign of Enroll America that is focused on educating consumers about the benefits of health coverage and the new health insurance available under the Affordable Care Act. With operations in eleven states (AZ, FL, GA, IL, MI, NC, NJ, OH, PA, TN and TX), our grassroots team is powered by passionate staff and volunteers with one motivating goal: to give Americans the information they need to choose an affordable health insurance plan that’s right for them and their families.

Enroll America is the nation’s leading health care enrollment coalition, bringing together community and health organizations, businesses and others to inform consumers about the new health coverage options and how to enroll in them. It is an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit 501c(3) organization.

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For more information on Enroll America and its efforts, visit EnrollAmerica.org.

Go to www.GetCoveredAmerica.org to understand how the new health care law will affect you and your family.

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