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‘Face Of Obama-Care’ Has Trouble Getting Medicaid

From an unfazed Associated Press:

‘Face of the campaign’ mired in health law snags

By CARLA K. JOHNSON | May 7, 2014

CHICAGO (AP) — Celeste Castillo, a Guatemalan immigrant [sic], was invited to a news conference with Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius early last year to help promote enrollment in the country’s new health insurance marketplaces.

From the podium, the U.S. citizen excitedly spoke of soon being able to get insurance for the first time under President Barack Obama’s health care law. "I felt so honored to be there that day," Castillo recalls. "They told me I would be the face of the campaign."

Fourteen months later, the 57-year-old nanny was still uninsured until The Associated Press contacted the Quinn administration last week. She had first become tangled in computer problems, then was denied by the state’s expanded Medicaid program — underscoring how complicated the process has been for many Americans, even one held up as an example of who the law was designed to help.

State officials blame a mistake in how to categorize an $800-a-month gift from Castillo’s estranged husband, which they quickly corrected. But it’s also ironic that she ran into such difficulties because Latinos were among the groups the Obama administration most coveted for enrollment and fell short in signing up, according to federal figures released last week.

"Every story is unique, but the theme that keeps coming up is how complicated this is," said Jane Delgado, president of the National Alliance for Hispanic Health, a nonpartisan advocacy network.

Castillo, who moved to the United States 38 years ago and speaks English well, was no ordinary consumer; she’s a board member at a community health clinic where she has received care on a sliding fee scale because she couldn’t afford private insurance and didn’t qualify for Medicaid before the health law’s expansion. That connection brought her to the attention of the governor’s office, which invited her to speak at the February 2013 event.

In October, she started applying for health insurance, wanting to be among the first covered. She was thwarted by website crashes, then by requests for additional paperwork. She worked with several counselors through the fall, winter and into the spring.

The counselors guided her toward coverage through the new expanded Medicaid program.

With an estimated annual income of $19,183 for a two-person household — herself and her 22-year-old daughter, a full-time student — Castillo qualified for expanded Medicaid. But if she made just $211 per month more, she would have needed to buy insurance on the marketplace. She was willing to do that, but went with the advice to apply for Medicaid.

Two weeks ago, she was notified she’d been rejected because of her income. By then, the March 31 deadline had passed for marketplace coverage. She didn’t know what to do.

"I thought by now I would be one of the people who would have insurance," Castillo said last week.

An AP reporter, discovering Castillo had been rejected after calling her to discuss Latino enrollment figures, then called a spokesman for the Quinn administration. Hours later, Castillo received a phone call from a lead casework specialist in the Illinois Medicaid office. He assured her a mistake had been made, her application now was approved and that his boss told him to call her right away.

Castillo learned that $800 a month she received from her estranged husband in Panama — his Social Security check — had been counted as part of her income, disqualifying her from Medicaid. That was an error, according to several independent experts interviewed by the AP. In a reassessment of her case, under rules for the Medicaid expansion established in the Affordable Care Act, the money was determined to be a gift from her husband to help pay for his daughter’s college education…

Quinn administration officials said Castillo’s story illustrates the complexity of the Medicaid review process.

"In cases where a mistake is made, we work very quickly to correct it," said Quinn spokesman Mike Claffey.

Even after being rejected for Medicaid, a person in Castillo’s situation possibly can get marketplace coverage by requesting an enrollment exception, Claffey said.

Castillo said she would have kept pushing to get coverage, despite her frustration. But she said she worries that others might have become too discouraged to try again.

"I’m assuming it wasn’t just me," she said.

What a typical Obama-Care story. On so many levels.

This article was posted by Steve Gilbert on Thursday, May 8th, 2014. Comments are currently closed.

3 Responses to “‘Face Of Obama-Care’ Has Trouble Getting Medicaid”

  1. BannedbytheTaliban

    “…she would have needed to buy insurance on the marketplace. She was willing to do that…”

    Then why didn’t she just buy insurance before the Obamacare boondoggle?

    • Rusty Shackleford

      Rhetorical I know but—-

      —-because she thought it would be FREEEEEE!

      What people are willing to do vs what they actually do are often galaxies apart and it would be fun to have been observing her to see her face when she found out it wasn’t gonna be “free”.

      People, especially those who are poor, stupid and unskilled usually develop into pretty good liars, so much so that their lives often become cesspools of a large collection of lies.

      Possibly, this is again due to the wanderings of people to get away from the Judeo-Christian ethic and moral code that was the glue that held Western culture together until the hippies showed up.

      I dunno, blame Elvis maybe, or the Beatles…and all that followed that. I could see it unraveling as I watched how my grandparents acted vs my own parents, vs the others around me and how fewer and fewer attended church services on Sundays. I was in church every Sunday until I was about ten years old when we seemed to just stop going. My father was often not home so…it was my mom, my brother and me.

      But here we are, reaping the whirlwind of socialism that many people adopt as the replacement religion of Christianity. Deferring to the state for permission to do everything is a sorry substitute.

      I’ll be dead and gone before it finally slides off into the abscess that is hell-on-earth but we’re fast on our way.

      One last thought, every year from the 1960’s, saw more “cutting-edge” comedians, movies, entertainment in general, trying to out-do the previous in terms of cussing, graphic violence, nudity/sex, etc. A reflection on our attitude toward it all. Do I want Victorian-era things? No…but….seems there’s no place to go without getting exposed to some irreverent crap anymore.

      That’s all I have to say about that.

  2. canary

    Medicaid receivers have to pay the government back with their homes and possessions if they received any after 52 years of age. Something like that.




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