Kansas Stories: Kelsi
“Every constituent, citizen, human, has value and potential and will put more in to their community than they take out if they are loved and healthy. Let’s start with love and make quality healthcare something for everyone.”
Kelsi Depew is from Arlington, KS. She is married with three young children. Kelsi an her husband both lost their jobs a few years ago, and to pay the bills, her husband started chopping firewood. Kelsi focused on care for her young children, but she always felt scared for her husband. She worried about his dangerous working conditions because if something were to happen to him, they did not have insurance to cover their medical expenses. Kelsi’s husband is now at a new job with the post office where he is able to get health insurance.
Although her husband is now insured, Kelsi is not, because it is unaffordable. She did have coverage through KanCare during her pregnancy five and a half years ago. But after her twins were born, she no longer qualified for KanCare and has been uninsured. Kelsi suffered from insomnia and postpartum depression for a year after losing insurance, but she was unsure of what was happening with her health at the time. She has essentially given up on finding affordable health insurance for herself because she “kept falling into a hole” when looking at her options.
Kelsi is very cautious when it comes to her health. Without insurance, she can’t afford regular check-ups. She avoids going to the doctor as long as possible, and when she does decide to make an appointment, she makes sure to get as much information about her payment before she arrives.
Kelsi likes to focus on preventive health, and when she and her husband decided to not have more children, she looked into birth control options. She knows many uninsured women do not have access to preventive check-ups, so Kelsi applied for a grant to help pay for the cost. But some of the comments she heard from the staff at the clinic made her feel uncomfortable about it. Kelsi knows what it’s like to feel as if she’s “not worth the cost” from policies that keep her from health insurance access. The stigma of being uninsured made her feel ashamed.
Kelsi hopes that her relationship with health insurance will change soon. She is always ready to deny herself care and puts of going to the doctor for as long as possible. Kelsi knows that if she had insurance, she would change so much with her health care practices. “If I had insurance it would change the way I would view my care.”
Kelsi is a strong advocate for Medicaid expansion. She says that expansion is “worth fighting for.” Kelsi knows there is value and potential in herself and others like her, but they need health help to continue to be active in their community. She knows when their health is supported, Kansas can thrive. Medicaid expansion is a way to do that. “Expansion is a first step in making sure our people are taken care of.”
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