Kansas stories: Theresa*

June 2023

Theresa* is from western Kansas and is a mom of two. Her coverage gap story is about her son, David. Theresa says that David has struggled with behavioral health needs throughout his life. 

David has been enrolled in the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which has been a huge help getting his behavioral health needs met. It has also helped him stay on much needed medications, which cost about $2,000. Prior to having health insurance, David spent a lot of time in special needs classrooms, but with the treatment and medication he was able to get through CHIP, that changed. 

David was able to be in a mainstream classroom and graduated high school with his classmates. Theresa is sure that wouldn’t have happened had her son not been able to get health insurance. He was able to keep up with his medications and see a therapist, who helped with his behavioral health needs. 

David also received a scholarship to his local community college. He decided, however, that he wanted to join the workforce instead. Theresa says he started a job not long after graduation and he’s still working there today. 

Theresa explained that David was able to stay on Medicaid because he did not have to re-enroll after graduation. The COVID-19 public health emergency did not require Medicaid or CHIP members to re-enroll; that health insurance coverage would continue as long as the public health emergency was in effect. This was a great help to David, allowing him to continue accessing his medications.

Unfortunately, David is now in the coverage gap. In April 2023, re-enrollments for Medicaid and CHIP started again. He aged out of CHIP during the pandemic and now that he is subject to the rules and limits of an adult on KanCare, Theresa knows he won’t qualify anymore. As a single adult without dependent children or a qualifying disability, David won’t have access to affordable health insurance anymore. David’s job doesn’t provide an insurance option either, so he’s stuck in a place where he can’t get affordable health insurance.

Theresa says that David has been really worried about losing his coverage due to the end of the pandemic emergency. It’s something that causes so much anxiety that he really tries to avoid even thinking about it. 

Theresa knows that if Kansas expanded its Medicaid program, David would have access to affordable health insurance, and wouldn’t be facing a reality without the treatment and medication he needs to stay health and working. She tells her son’s story to advocate for him and to highlight the need for expansion, especially as more people find themselves in the coverage gap with the end of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

If you or someone you know has lost KanCare coverage due to the end of the COVID-19 pandemic and restarting of re-enrollments, please reach out to us. We’d love to tell your story to highlight the importance of expanding Medicaid now. Email Marissa@ExpandKanCare.com.

*”Theresa” is a pseudonym