B.E. is a single mom in St. Louis who cannot qualify for Medicaid. She earned two Associate of Arts degrees while working up to management in the food service industry. During her pregnancy with her son, she was able to qualify for Medicaid but lost that coverage six months after she had him. Her son is now three and has a policy that gives him coverage across state lines so he is covered while visiting his dad. He had terrible ear infections growing up and had ear tubes put in to ease fluid buildup. It was only after the procedure that B.E. began getting bills when she thought her son’s ear infection would be counted as a pre-existing condition and insurance would cover it. The bill is for about $11,000. After it is finalized by the hospital, she plans to talk with them about the large bill and see what can be done.
Last year, B.E. applied for Medicaid twice. Each time she called DSS (Department of Social Services) they said they didn’t receive her application or have her record on file. On the third try, they told her she couldn’t qualify for Medicaid because she is not the sole custodial parent of her son. B.E. says that wouldn’t be worth the custody battle since she and her husband are on good terms and it still wouldn’t keep coverage for their son when he was out of the state. “People think it’s so easy. It’s not. You get lost in the system. You have to have a million documents. You have to qualify JUST RIGHT. It is so disheartening.” B.E. now has insurance through her father but only until she turns 26. Her family has a history of uterine cancers and her mom wants her to have the coverage to monitor that. She works 50 hours a week and took a pay cut from her previous post as a manager to move into her field of media production. As B.E. states, “I am working full time, went to school during this, and picked up a second job just to keep things going. Most of my life is spent working to keep everything going as a single mom and lots of times it feels like it is all for bills and I hardly even get to see my kiddo I’m desperately trying to provide for.”