Amy Glynn, her husband, Pete, and son, Addison, moved from Oakland, Calif. to Seattle, Wash. after Addison's first surgery to escape the high costs of the Bay Area and be close to the renowned Seattle Children's Hospital. In addition to working, Amy is finishing her Master’s Degree in Public Health from the University of Washington and will begin law school this upcoming year.
As two veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces, my husband and I had health coverage through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. We also maintained private health insurance through our employers. Our insurance policies were very “normal” with average premiums in a high deductible plan. Gifted with youth and health, we never used our policies extensively or came close to hitting our annual deductibles.
Everything changed just two days after taking our newborn son, Addison, home from his delivery hospital. After taking a harrowing trip to our local emergency room because Addison began turning blue in front of our eyes, we learned that he had been born with a coarctation of the aorta and required emergency heart bypass surgery.
While my husband and I had saved a little money in preparation of a new baby, we were nowhere near prepared for the costs and stress associated with a child born with a congenital heart defect (CHD). We also weren’t able to meet the catastrophic limits within our high deductible plans.
With no family or friends to fall back on, my shock and pride personally held me back from pleading for charity from strangers. What many people fail to realize is the costs that come with becoming a provider for a child with a CHD. I had to quit my job to become a full-time caregiver. Plus the stress of our son’s illness negatively affected my husband, who was forced to work through it all. These circumstances put an everlasting strain in our relationship.
As two low-to-moderate income working adults, my husband and I never thought we would ever need to rely on any form of governmental assistance. Medicaid not only paid for the exorbitantly high costs of our son’s emergency heart surgery, but also his four-month long battle struggling for life in a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Medicaid continues to cover him today.
Medicaid not only saved Addison’s life, but saved our family from bankruptcy and helped to keep our family together. Today, I am the mother to a healthy and happy two-year-old, and the wife to a loving and slightly less-stressed husband. I honestly can say that without Medicaid, I don’t know how our marriage and our son’s health would be.