Mary is a 35-year-old from Greene County who is currently in school part-time at Missouri State University and is also working part-time. Because she has no dependents and is an adult, she is ineligible for Medicaid in Missouri. She does not make enough money to get discounts through the federal marketplace. Mary, like 300,000 other people in our state, has fallen through the cracks of Missouri’s broken health care coverage system. When Mary got the flu last fall, she became so dehydrated that she had to go to the hospital to receive treatment and medication. Her parents were able to help her get to the hospital and paid for her medication which she later repaid them for. After receiving an exorbitant bill from the hospital, she applied for assistance to pay that bill and is still waiting news of acceptance for her case or if she will need to begin payment.
“I wish we had a system that was affordable for everyone. I want to be able to pay for health insurance. There has to be a better way.”
Mary also lives with the fear of getting gynecologic cancer. Most women on her mother’s side has been diagnosed in their early thirties that eventually lead to them having complete hysterectomies. If Missouri were to expand Medicaid, Mary would have access to coverage and could receive regular care, including preventative care. Mary said that if she were to suddenly come across some money, the first thing she would do, after paying off student loan debt, is get a complete medical workup. Missouri is leaving behind too many people, including hard-working, education-pursuing, young people.