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Gap in Access to Healthcare: Terry’s Story

Terry McCallister - St. Louis, Missouri

I actually filed for and received disability in 2013. At that time, I had COBRA insurance, which was a little over $700 a month, which is more than half of the disability that I bring in, so I had to drop my COBRA. I had some money in a 401k, therefore I was not eligible for Medicaid and had to wait two years to get Medicare. 60 days from getting my Medicare, I was hospitalized—taken to the hospital in an ambulance, had to stay for three days, had tests ran—and now I am stuck with those hospital bills to pay on my disability income. I’m drowning. I was $117 from being able to get Medicaid until my Medicare came in. $117 a month. It left me with nothing. I did not have a doctor. I did not have prescription medications that I needed. I had no access to tests and things that I needed to help with my health, to help me live a healthier lifestyle. I’m stuck in the system. The spend down, they wanted me to spend all of my 401k that I had before they would help me with anything. I am just stuck in the middle of this with no way out. Hopefully, the hospital will help me with a financial scholarship program to help pay some of those bills, but I don’t really know the way out for me with this current hospital bill that I have. This just happened to me two weeks ago. I was 60 days from getting my Medicare.

I’m not really sure what to do, besides make certain that our government knows how many thousands of people are stuck out here in this spend down. We are sick. We are on disability. It’s not something that comes easily. You have to have doctors and tests and be evaluated. If you receive that disability, you are sick. You need medical treatment. You need medical care. We’re stuck in this gap again. You have a little bit of money, so we can’t help you. I don’t know how else to help with the situation, besides putting the word out there and letting it be known. There has to be hundreds of thousands of us out here in this same situation.