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Voices of New Medicaid Beneficiaries

As states expand their Medicaid programs, many people who have never had health coverage before, or who have been uninsured for a long time, are signing up and using their new health care benefits. Here are just two stories shared by people who are newly enrolled in Medicaid. Listen to their voices:

Keena Hicks – Philadelphia, PA. Keena Hicks, mother to 6-year-old Makye, says that Pennsylvania’s Medicaid expansion has lifted a big weight from her shoulders. As a part-time health aide, she cares for two seniors, one with cancer and the other with Parkinson’s. She notes that, “even though I help take care of their health, I was having trouble taking care of my own.” If Keena needed to see the doctor, the charge was about $40, which she says she didn’t always have. “… when I thought about going to the doctor, I also had to think about which other bill wouldn’t get paid on time so I could cover the cost. Will it be the mortgage or the utilities?” But, with Medicaid, Keena says she doesn’t have to worry about that anymore. Read more about Keena’s experience here.

Jessica Olivares – Las Vegas, Nevada. Jessica Olivares and her husband, Gabriel, could not afford to put their children on Gabriel’s health plan at work. Jessica looked for help and found it at a community organization that helps families sign up for health coverage. The children were enrolled in Medicaid -- and when they needed health care, they got it. One of the Olivares boys was able to have painful wisdom teeth extracted and the other got treatment for a sports injury. All three Olivares children had their eyes examined and were prescribed glasses. Jessica says, “It’s invaluable to know that someone besides me cares so much about the health and well-being of my children!” And there was another bonus: Jessica discovered that she was eligible herself under Nevada’s Medicaid expansion. After suffering with serious health problems without insurance, she now has Medicaid Coverage. Jessica says “the feeling of relief is indescribable.”

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