During the government shut down in February 2019, Luke received a letter from Mohealthnet saying he was kicked off Medicaid after his paperwork has reviewed. He was one of the hundreds of thousands of people kicked off the Medicaid program despite qualifying and submitting all needed documentation to prove so. Luke knew this had to be a mistake on their part and attempted to contact them and left a message stating he was unable to attend the scheduled review meeting due to a final exam he had for school. No one contacted Luke after he communicated his need to reschedule and he was without health insurance for three months and had to jump through hoops to obtain medication in the interim. Luke has autism and relies on his medication to assist in his day to day living. He worked with his psychiatrist and had to get a waiver for the 30-day supply rule for his medication and was able to get a 90-day supply of his medication that lasted him through his time of being uninsured. As Luke states, “I am so glad I was able to get my medication covered. If I would have had to get off of my medication suddenly, it would have been a bad situation”.
Luke was able to connect with Missouri Protection and Advocacy lawyers that took his case pro-bono and helped him prove his need for Medicaid. Though Luke was able to eventually reinstate his Medicaid, the process was grueling and time consuming. Luke works part time in addition to being a student. He states that the amount of time he put into searching for documents and meeting with lawyers to reinstate his Medicaid cut into his time for extracurricular school activities and job training opportunities. The documentation need to reinstate his Medicaid included letters from his psychiatrist and caseworker, transcripts from previously attended school, letters from financial aid from his current school and more. Despite the hassle, Luke says, “I did everything in my power to dot the I’s and cross my T’s because without my health insurance, I have nothing. Without it I could not do the integrated Community based living I am currently achieving, I would have been forced to live in some kind of group home. I have to have this medication”.
Luke considers himself lucky to have found a resource to help him reinstate his Medicaid. He worries about the people that don’t know about organizations like Missouri Protection and Advocacy. Luke is studying Public Policy and Social Work and hopes to build a career in advocacy and policy so that he may advocate on behalf of people with disabilities.