Nichelle lives with her husband and three children in the Kansas City area, where she works for a heating and cooling service provider. Although she and her husband have health care coverage through her job, she cannot afford to add her three children to their plan, so they’ve been covered through Medicaid for a couple years.
When Nichelle went to make a doctor’s appointment for one of her kids in February of this year, she was told her kids were kicked off of Medicaid in November 2018. She couldn’t get a direct answer as to why, but after contacting the Department of Social Services (DSS), she was told she failed to send back a form they had mailed her.
But Nichelle had filled out and sent back every Medicaid form she’d ever received. As it turns out, DSS had sent their forms to an address they haven’t lived at for five years – long before she had ever applied for Medicaid.
In addition to her children losing coverage, Nichelle’s family also lost their food stamps for a while because of a similar address mix up.
“They gave excuse after excuse as for why they dropped my kids, but they couldn’t give me a legitimate reason,” she said. “How is it that when I applied for Medicaid and food stamps, I applied with my current address, but they were sending all of these forms to an old address?”
Despite re-applying for Medicaid online every single month since discovering they lost coverage in February, Nichelle and her husband are consistently told there are no records of their application when they call to check in on the process, and that they need to re-apply.
Nichelle’s family lives paycheck to paycheck, and losing health care coverage for her kids has caused a lot of undue stress. Her kids are 2, 3 and 5, and because of their loss of coverage, they are all three behind on their vaccinations.
Her oldest starts kindergarten in the fall, and she doesn’t know what will happen if he’s unable to get his vaccinations updated by then. Nichelle’s 3-year-old suffers from mild hemophilia, and she is constantly concerned that is she gets hurt, a hospital visit will put them in a financial crisis.
Nichelle’s children are three of more than 85,000 children who have been erroneously dropped from the Medicaid rolls since January 2018. Governor Parson and his administration have yet to address these atrocious administrative failures, and instead, families like Nichelle’s are getting the runaround from a system that is supposed to provide care for their children.
“I’m just trying to survive right now. I wish that I didn’t need Medicaid, but I can’t afford health care for my kids without it.”