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Aug. 28, 2012
LAWRENCE Lawrence resident Jennifer Weishaar, 34, is hoping Kansas will expand the eligibility for its Medicaid program so she can qualify for the program and ultimately take care of her health needs.
“There’s a lot of medications that I should be on and a lot of stuff that I’m not taking care of with my doctor because it’s a lot of money,” said Weishaar, who has been unemployed for about one year.
She opted to purchase the new Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan that’s offered through the Affordable Care Act in case of a medical crisis. That plan is costing her $240 per month and the deductible is $5,000. She said it doesn’t cover all of the medications that she needs, so she has opted to go without because she also has to pay for groceries, rent and utilities.
“It’s very frustrating,” she said. “We don’t value prevention. We don’t value health in our country.”
Under the Affordable Care Act, Kansas has the option of expanding the program to cover people under age 65 who have an income that’s 133 percent of the federal poverty level or less. That’s about $15,000 for an individual or $30,000 for a family of four. Kansas hasn’t made a decision yet.
Weishaar along with an estimated 151,000 other Kansans would become eligible if the state adopts the expansion, according to the Kansas Health Institute.
Weishaar was one of four panelists who spoke Monday night about Medicaid expansion and how it could affect Douglas County residents. About 60 people attended the meeting at Lawrence Memorial Hospital. The other panelists were: Lawrence Memorial Hospital President and CEO Gene Meyer, Heartland Community Health Center CEO Jon Stewart and Scott Brunner, Kansas Health Institute senior analyst.
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