WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – A four percent cut in Medicaid reimbursements from the State of Kansas goes into effect Friday, making it more difficult for doctors, dentists and hospitals to serve low-income families. In addition, a backlog of applications to Medicaid is keeping thousands from getting the care they need.
One of the more than 15,000 Kansans affected is Julie Gibbs who’s waiting to have her Medicaid application approved. For her, the health care “limbo” she’s in can be life-threatening.
“You may need to see a doctor, but you don’t do it because you’re trying to save money,” Gibbs said.
Gibbs, who lives in Park City, has felt the hardships of trying to wade through the Medicaid system. She was diagnosed with epilepsy three years ago, causing her to not be able to continue working as a nurse.
“I have not been able to afford a neurologist almost three years now. A neurologist without an appointment is about $200 a visit.”
Gibbs applied for Medicaid six months ago, but was denied after being backlogged for months. That left her with no medical care.
“I do have some outstanding medical bills and it’s shameful to me, but it’s what it is,” said Gibbs.
But, she’s not the only Kansan affected.
According to Project Access in Sedgwick County, they’ve seen thousands of cases just like Gibbs’.
“What we found out is either they have not heard anything back, or when we’ve called Topeka, they cannot find the application,” said Djuna Harris, the service coordinator with Project Access.
Harris says Project Access helps walk applicants through the process online, but weeks later patients are left with no answer.
“What we found out is either they have not heard anything back, or when we’ve called Topeka, they cannot find the application.”
Problems like these are contributing to the fact that more than 15,000 Kansans are still waiting to get health care through Medicaid, people like Julie Gibbs, who’s forced to re-apply in order to get the help she needs.
“It would be life changing, if I could get life insurance it would increase my quality of life,” said Gibbs.
And, there are a lot of Kansans who share that feeling. In Sedgwick County alone 65,000 people are uninsured.