Honoring Our Loved Ones Who Died in the Medicaid Coverage Gap
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Wife, Mother, and Early Childhood Teacher
Cathy was a mother of three children and wife. She was an early childhood educator for 30 years and she died from a heart attack on May 28, 2016. She was passionate about providing quality care for children. Mrs. Cathy didn’t have health insurance and as a result she was unable to manage heart disease. She had a college degree in early childhood education. She left behind three children and a husband.
Mother, employee of NC Public schools
In 2017, Deanna learned she was pregnant and was approved for Medicaid. After losing her still-born son, she lost her health coverage. Once employed with the school system, she acquired health coverage and the ability to see a doctor again—only to receive a stage 4 cancer diagnosis. After undergoing 8 months of intensive chemotherapy, she died in 2020.
Uncle, son, and brother
Jeff died in 2017 while working as a cook in a nursing home. Jeff suffered months of pain, but delayed preventative care due to his lack of health insurance. Jeff was diagnosed in the ER with stage 4 kidney cancer and passed away shortly after.
Daughter, Sister, Mother
Jessica died on May 12, 2018 at the age of 32. Jessica suffered from mental illness and substance use disorder, but because she was in the Medicaid coverage gap, she was unable to afford the care she needed to support her mental health and recovery.
Shana worked for the state of North Carolina in a job she loved until her many health issues forced her to accept long-term State disability.She applied for Social Security Disability but was denied, as was her appeal. When her three years of State disability benefits ended, she had no means of income and no medical insurance. There were times she had no food, electricity or heat. The little house she was so proud to purchase was foreclosed and sold.
Shana’s application for Medicaid was initially denied but eventually approved for an interim period as long as her Social Security Disability appeal was pending. With her interim coverage she was prescribed a plethora of pain medications with no plan for reduction. On July 3, 2017, the age of 46, she went to bed with plans to attend a family July 4th cook-out the following day. Unfortunately she took more pain medication than her diseased heart could handle. I found her in bed the next day, finally at peace after seven years of fighting a system that offered little to no help.