mages

“Being healthy shouldn’t have to come down to how much money you make.”

Stacy Foltin has been an employee at Goodwill Industries for a little over a year. We spoke to her on the same day she had enrolled in the Healthy Michigan Medicaid program. That morning, she had realized that her Kalamazoo County Health Plan was no longer active. She had gotten blood drawn a few weeks ago and received a bill much to her surprise, as she thought that she had coverage under the County Health plan and had even paid her regular co-pay at the appointment. She was upset and dismayed to learn the plan was no longer in effect and especially that she had received no notice at all, until she received the bill. She said that “it seemed like something you should tell people, that you don’t have coverage anymore. It’s just wrong”
Fortunately, Stacy was able to talk with the navigation coordinator at Goodwill, Kym Hollars, and got signed up for Medicaid on the same day. She said she was very happily surprised at how easy the process was, “I didn’t expect to get approval right away. Oh my god, I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t realize how easy the process would be or I would have signed up earlier” She also said that compared to other government processes and applications she had gone through, this one was easier.
When she was younger, she had also gone through periods of being uninsured. She said that although it was scary to be uninsured, she was healthier back then and was able to have Medicaid during her pregnancy. She said that now that she was older she would be more worried not to have coverage. When she didn’t have insurance, she once had the option of signing up for insurance with her current employer, Little Caesar’s, but it was much too expensive – $150 a week, a large portion of her paycheck. For the past decade, she has had some sort of insurance. Stacy has been on the Kalamazoo County Health Plan since 2010, when she lost her job. Before that, she had insurance with her employer.
However, Stacy had mixed feelings about the Kalamazoo County Health Plan. “It is real basic, It worked if you got sick and needed a doctor, but not if you needed much extra.” For example, she needed an x-ray to prove she had osteoarthritis to get a certain medical procedure. However, the health plan didn’t cover the x-ray and she couldn’t afford to pay out of pocket, so she couldn’t get the procedure. She is more optimistic about the care she will receive under the Healthy Michigan plan. Her daughter, who is almost 18, has had care under Medicaid since Stacy lost her employer’s insurance, and she has been more impressed with her coverage.
Stacy receives medical care at the Family Health Center, and overall has been very impressed. She hasn’t had to go often – only seven times in the past few years, but is happy to know there is a place to go. She is also pleased with how affordable it is – only a $5 co-pay for each visit.
Stacy also has many friends who have been positively affected by the Affordable Care Act. She has one friend who hasn’t had coverage for 20 years and was just able to sign up for care. It was a “huge deal” for her and she was very happy to finally have coverage. However, some of her friends didn’t want to sign up for insurance and now have to pay the fine. She reported that they were quite upset about that.
Stacy has positive feelings about the Affordable Care Act overall. “Even with flaws, you’ve gotta start somewhere. There are going to be mistakes, but you’ve got to learn, you’ve got to take the first step.” She said all you hear on the news are the negatives aspects of the law, but it really is better than the previous system. She said that in her ideal world, everyone would have health insurance and that it would all be of good quality. She says that while she understands health care can’t be free, and that doctors have to get paid somehow, the way drug and medical prices work in the U.S. perplexes and frustrates her. She doesn’t understand why a procedure costs $5,000 somewhere and $20,000 somewhere else, or why her prescriptions cost $10 a week at Walmart and $30 at Walgreens. These discrepancies don’t seem fair and in her ideal system they wouldn’t exist. She wished being healthy didn’t have to come down to how much money you make. She notes even eating healthier is too expensive. She thinks there must be a better system so everyone can be healthy, not just the wealthy.

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