My sister is a 60 year old woman who has worked all of her life. Through a series of events beyond her control, she has found herself working for minimum wage, in a part time job, and without health insurance. She had a medical issue, that while not life threatening, that needed immediate attention. Because of her no insurance status, she believed she had to just live with the problem. She had no computer so she went to a local government agency that advertised they helped people navigate the Health.gov website and to get everyone coverage they could afford. Unfortunately the person whose job it was to help her was not fully educated in the process of doing her job. She informed my sister she did not qualify for Medicaid and would best be served by choosing a insurance plan on Health.gov. According to this woman’s calculations my sister would owe several hundred dollars a month to have coverage. That was simply not an option. My sister was forced to live in severe pain for months before she told me about what she had been going through. I am a Health Information Management student. I was appalled at the lack of empathy the woman at Jobs and Family services showed to her. I was also shocked at how this woman was being paid to do a job and help people, but she was not skilled in how to perform her job correctly. I used the knowledge I have been given in my classes and helped my sister get in touch with a physician who employed staff that are skilled in helping people navigate the Affordable Care Act requirements to attain coverage. When my sister’s forms were filled out correctly, she did indeed qualify for Medicaid to have the surgery she needed. She is now healing and will be able to return to work in a full time position since she no longer is in constant pain. There are so many facets of the Affordable Care Act that truly will help make care available to people who would otherwise not have treatment. The key is to have skilled people in all aspects of healthcare who work hard to keep the costs down so everyone can receive quality care at an affordable price. There is a gap that exists between qualifying for Medicaid and being able to afford the “required” health insurance under Obama care.
Betty Paterson was a contestant in the 2015 Costs of Care Story Contest (in partnership with Yale New Haven Health, Consumer Reports, and Strata Decision Technologies).