Kansas stories: Stephanie

may 2023

Stephanie is from Paola, Kansas. She is a mom of three children and a caretaker for her grandfather. She owns her own cleaning business.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Stephanie had trouble getting health insurance; it was too costly through her job. She was unable to go to the doctor or get consistent health care. When she was younger, Stephanie struggled with addiction, and she knew getting care to stay clean and address her mental health needs was important, but without insurance, she couldn’t get that regular care.

When the pandemic hit, Stephanie lost her job. Like so many other Kansans, she struggled.

She was eventually able to get back on her feet. She applied for KanCare, and was able to qualify for coverage. She started seeing a doctor regularly. For the first time in a long time, she was able to consistently take care of her health.

Now that the COVID-19 public health emergency has ended and KanCare renewals have restarted, Stephanie has started to worry that she’ll lose the health coverage she has come to rely on. Losing her insurance coverage would mean she can’t keep up on her mental health needs or preventative health screenings. If she loses her insurance, Stephanie is afraid her health will move to the backburner again.

Having access to health insurance during the pandemic has impacted Stephanie’s life in such a positive way. “I didn’t have to worry and stress, and when I was able to get back to work, I was healthy enough to,” she said.

She knows that her health is key to being able to take care of the rest of her family.

KanCare expansion is critical to Kansans now that Medicaid renewals have restarted.

Stephanie will lose her KanCare coverage during the renewal process. Since she owns her own cleaning business, she does not have access to employer-sponsored health insurance. Knowing this is a major stressor in Stephanie’s life.

She is thankful that she had access to KanCare during her recovery process, and hopes that Kansas will expand KanCare to close the coverage gap so people like her will be able to access vital care once again.