Kansas stories: Robyn

September 2023

Robyn lives in Newton and is a mom. Unfortunately Robyn is one of the thousands of Kansans who have recently lost their health insurance and now does not have access to affordable health care.

Like so many others, Robyn relied on KanCare for her health insurance during the COVID public health emergency. While she had KanCare she was able to see the doctor and fill her prescriptions to stay healthy and productive.

As the pandemic has eased, she was able to pick up more shifts and work more hours at her job. She was grateful to be able to work more, but by doing so, her income now disqualifies her from receiving health insurance through KanCare. But she doesn’t make enough to qualify for financial help on the Health Insurance Marketplace.

Kansas has some of the most strict requirements in the country to qualify for Medicaid. A single mother with two children can’t make more than about $9,500 annually if she wants to qualify for KanCare. And she still has to pay for housing, food, clothing, utilities, and other necessities with that $9,500.

Adults without children at home don’t qualify for KanCare at all, regardless of how little income they make.

Although she doesn’t have health insurance, Robyn still has health concerns she needs to treat, but she finds herself putting off care because of how expensive it is. She can’t afford to see a doctor, so she isn’t getting the care she needs to stay healthy. She has prescriptions to fill, but without insurance just one of them will cost over $7,000. “It’s a huge concern,” she said.

“My first thought when I found out I didn’t qualify for KanCare anymore was ‘What am I going to do now?’” she said. She has reapplied, but she is concerned that she won’t qualify anymore because her income is slightly over the limit.

Having untreated health conditions and worrying about whether she will incur a large medical bill is causing further stress and pain. But Robyn isn’t alone in feeling this way. Tens of thousands of Kansans are in the same situation.

Expanding KanCare is more critical now than ever before. If Kansas had expanded KanCare, we wouldn’t have a coverage gap right now, while thousands of people are losing their health insurance coverage during the Medicaid renewal process. Hardworking Kansans like Robyn would be able to get the health care they need to stay healthy and happy, and remain productive members of the workforce.