Percy J., Broward County
Percy J. is a kidney transplant recipient. Florida’s current Medicaid Redetermination process weighs heavily on him and he fears he could lose the coverage that he depends on to stay healthy. He has experienced annual Medicaid renewals in the past, but this year has been a much more difficult process.
After hearing that many families are abruptly losing Medicaid coverage during this Redetermination process, Percy became highly concerned about his own coverage. “This redetermination has made me nervous as well as so many others in the transplant community,” he shared. When he did not receive a Medicaid eligibility verification form from the Department of Children and Families (DCF), he reached out to his local legislator’s office. He suspects he only finally received communication from DCF because his legislator got involved.
Percy’s transplant took place 19 years ago after 8 years on dialysis and 2.5 years on the transplant list. “A transplant isn’t a cure,” he says, “it’s just an option that gives me a better life; a longer life.” Percy approaches this new lease on life with a sense of humor. “I’ve named my kidney Sammy after my surgeon who told me to take care of it like it’s my baby.” The longest-functioning transplanted kidney in the US is 25 years and he hopes his ‘Sammy’ will last even longer!
In order to achieve that goal, consistent health care is crucial. Percy’s medications are expensive but life-sustaining. “One of my medications is $2000 a month and another, which I only take eight times a month, is $500. I can’t skip a medication or try to horde them; I only receive the exact amount for 60 days.”
As Florida’s Medicaid Redetermination process continues, Percy is concerned that he could be “lost in the shuffle” because he looks able bodied and the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) and DCF often don’t see the entire picture. “I’ve been so afraid that Long Term Medicaid patients will be the first to be kicked off. My disability is invisible because I’m not in a wheelchair, not bedridden, but I am still disabled.”
Florida Medicaid is in the process of reviewing the eligibility status of recipients. Over 400,000 Floridians have already been disenrolled from Medicaid, with thousands more anticipated to lose coverage. Many have lost coverage due to procedural reasons, not because they are ineligible. Florida has declined to pause the process.
If you are a current Medicaid recipient, follow these steps to ensure you don’t risk a gap in your coverage:
Make sure your contact information is up to date.
Check your mail for a postcard or yellow striped envelope.
Complete your annual renewal form.
For more information go to Florida Voices for Health Medicaid Redetermination Help.
If you've lost Medicaid coverage or are uninsured, Covering Florida offers free resources to help. Their Health Insurance Navigators across the state of Florida offer free assistance to find affordable coverage to meet your needs. Find a Navigator in your local area at www.coveringflorida.org.
We want to hear from you. Many Floridians face serious obstacles when trying to access health care. Common barriers include cost, limited local providers, local hospital and clinic closures, lack of coverage, and insurance not accepted. If you've struggled to access health care in Florida, your story can be a powerful catalyst for change. We amplify these experiences to help our legislators and voters understand the health care challenges being faced by everyday Floridians. Complete the form below to share your story.