Medicaid Matters for Kids Month -- Jaden's Story
Throughout the month of March, Speak Now for Kids is celebrating Medicaid Matters for Kids Month with posts highlighting the importance of Medicaid in children’s access to health care.
You may recognize 6-year-old Jaden as the Speak Now for Kids national ambassador. Born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, a congenital heart defect in which the left side of the heart is severely underdeveloped, he underwent open-heart surgery at just 4 days old. Since then, Jaden had two additional open-heart surgeries, several catherizations, the insertion of a gastric feeding tube, and months of physical rehabilitation.
For the first three years of his life, most of his health expenses were taken care of by Medicaid. However, when his parents experienced professional success, Jaden did not qualify for Medicaid and was then moved over to private insurance.
“As parents of a medically complex child, being covered by private insurance put our family in financial peril,” said Jaden's mother, Belkis. “Not only did the insurer not cover the breadth of services that Jaden needed, we were faced with steep co-pays and unrealistic deductibles for every doctor’s visit, medication refill, trip to the emergency room, medical test and procedure we were on the brink of declaring bankruptcy.”
Jaden, who participated in Speak Now for Kids Family Advocacy Day in 2013 and 2014 for St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital, is now covered by Florida’s version of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). With a potential heart surgery in the future and a lifetime of medications, this coverage is a critical lifeline to Jaden and his family.
With your help, Congress can extend federal funding for CHIP and ensure eligible children remain enrolled in affordable health coverage. Ask your U.S. senators and representative to extend CHIP as soon as possible!