Kansas Stories: Stephanne

Stephanne is from Jackson County. She is a mom and an active breastfeeding advocate for the Kansas Breastfeeding Coalition, providing peer-to-peer breastfeeding support. She pushes for moms to have access to Medicaid for longer than the two months after the birth of their child. She also wants Medicaid expansion to happen in Kansas.

Stephanne had been working and had insurance when she had her first child. When it was time to go back to work, she developed postpartum depression. She wasn’t able to return to work for six months. After much deliberation, she decided to become a stay-at-home mom. She’s been caring for her children at home ever since.

Stephanne tried to get insurance through her husband’s employer, but it was too expensive. It would have cost them almost a whole paycheck. She was told about KanCare and was able to qualify during her later pregnancies. This was difficult for Stephanne and her growing family. She developed some health complications outside of pregnancy, some of which were pregnancy-related, that she couldn’t get treated. She would have to pay out of pocket for all of the care.

For the past eight years, Stephanne hasn’t been able to get an MRI. She’s dealing with a pituitary microadenoma tumor. Stephanne is often dizzy and sometimes falls because of this tumor. She also had a mastitis while breastfeeding. She worries about these health issues and she wonders, “How am I supposed to get a prescription and see a doctor?”

Stephanne doesn’t understand why new moms are ineligible for KanCare just two months after the birth of the child. She knows from experience that mothers can develop complications several months after childbirth and having health insurance would be helpful to them. She did get a MRI after the tumor first appeared and it took so much time for her to pay off. She’s also dealing with kidney stones and not having insurance means she can’t see what’s going on.

Stephanne is insured right now because federal policies have extended coverage options during the pandemic. She enjoys having the health insurance because she can get preventative care without worrying about the bill. She’s able to go to the doctor and get her well-woman exams. As the caregiver for her children, she’s not worried about who will be there to take care of her family. She knows that preventative care means decreases in the overall cost of care.

For Stephanne, health insurance is important for families. Having insurance helps relieve some of the stress. She knows first hand what it’s like to be in danger of losing coverage. In the months after her child’s birth, Stephanne had an appointment. She had to cancel it because she wasn’t able to get in before her insurance ended. She wants others to know that insurance is so important to her and that “we shouldn’t have to stress and worry.” She wants legislators to put themselves in the shoes of their constituents. She wants Kansans to be healthy and to close the coverage gap.

Do you or someone you know have a health insurance story to share? Email marissa@expandkancare.com.