Medicaid Matter for Kids Monday - Vika

Speak Now for Kids is celebrating Medicaid Matters for Kids Mondays with posts highlighting the importance of Medicaid in children’s access to health care. This week, we spoke with Vika’s mom, Ashlee.

Vika was born with TAR Syndrome and faces challenges every day enduring life with a chronic condition. We adopted Vika from the Republic of Georgia almost a year ago and we’re excited for the care that she can receive in the United States; she’s currently under great care at Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital. She relies on multiple specialists, including hematologists, orthodontists and endocrinologists.

I was nervous to apply for Medicaid after we adopted Vika. I felt like I was cheating the system because we agreed that we could afford Vika’s care when we signed her adoption paperwork. Fortunately, I had a job that had medical insurance benefits, but they did not cover all her expenses. Medicaid has been very beneficial to Vika. Even with private insurance, her care wasn’t completely covered—we have paid thousands of dollars. For instance, children with TAR syndrome can have congenital heart problems so it was recommended that she have a “simple” echocardiogram to check. After primary insurance, we still owed over $1,000 just for this one test.

With the help of Medicaid, we didn’t pay anything for the peace of mind that her little heart is healthy. Vika was fitted for special braces to correct her severely bowed legs after the end of September and by the beginning of December, she had already outgrown her braces. The out-of-pocket cost of the braces would be $6,500 without Medicaid. Funding for Medicaid is critical to supporting medically complex children and allowing them to thrive

Not too long ago, I was a pediatric nurse and took care of children with medical complexity. I saw the vast needs of these children and was inspired to adopt a child experiencing complex medical issues. We hope to give Vika a life that wouldn’t have been possible if she was left in an orphanage. Adults need to speak for these children—they cannot yet advocate for themselves. As a parent, I see the daily challenges that Vika must overcome to keep up with her peers. Access to health care and specialists is critical for her to continue to grow and thrive.

Vika is starting to catch up to her developmental milestones. Every day, I see our little toddler transitioning to a little girl. Because of the leg braces, therapies and health care services, she is thriving! She is becoming a world traveler! We travelled to China for a family visit but after two months, it became clear that she needed the services back in the United States. So, this little lady has now taken a couple of flights across the world!

Recently, Vika grew interested in princesses and ballet. Our last Christmas was filled with Mickey and Minnie Mouse, ballet, princesses and dinosaurs! We love seeing the world through her eyes.

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