Wednesday, April 15, 2009


I found a really good site that explains Medicaid and the Medicaid Waiver Program (for people with disabilities). I don't know who all reads this blog, but if you have a child with special needs or if you know someone with children who have special needs, you might want to consider applying. It does vary state-to-state, but from what I understand, every state has an exception to the low-income guidelines for people with disabilities.

I was told a variety of things before I applied for the Waiver that were just flat-out wrong. Now, like I said, this varies by state, but I think there are a few common misconceptions that need to be outed. First, you may be told that the list is a mile long and it will take years to be approved. Apply anyway! I was told that; it took two weeks.

Second, you may be told that your income prohibits you from qualifying. There are two parts to Medicaid -- Medicaid for low-income families and Medicaid for people with disabilities. In Iowa, the CHILD'S income determines whether or not they qualify for the Waiver. And since most children don't have an income, they will most likely qualify. I think there are some families who may be required to pay a co-pay, but I haven't met that family. Even Punkin has an "income" of child support, and he still qualifies no problem.

Third, you may think that it's "just health insurance." But, it's much more than that. It is respite (ie: babysitting!). It is specialists. It is community living programs. It's private therapy and phychologists and the Fragile X Clinic. And many times, it's at no cost.

Lastly, I was told that I had to apply for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) before I applied for the Waiver, and that's not really true. The thing about that is SSI will determine whether or not your child is disabled -- which took two years in my case -- and having that label makes qualifying for the Waiver easier. BUT if you can get a report from a psychologist with an IQ score and functional behavior, it's like a fast-track to acceptance. (Let me warn you that reading said report may require someone nearby with hugs, tissues, and ice cream.)

So, there's me on my soap box for today. I've been reading alot of stories lately about families who have lost their HOMES because of medical bills for their special-needs children and it makes me sick that not one doctor or teacher or social worker gave them information on state aide. (Or, they gave them the wrong information.)

If you Google 'Medicaid Waiver' and your state, you should be able to find some info. Otherwise, call your local Department of Human Services and bug them until someone gives you a number to call. Okay, you might not have to bug them, but I did. I had a social worker at the time because I was receiving Medicaid based on my income, but she couldn't tell me ANYTHING about the Waiver. I mean, she looked like I asked her to fly me to the moon.

Okay, really, I'm done now.

Updated: I was a little unclear in this post. There is more than one kind of Waiver, not just one for those who are intellectually disabled. I think I made it sound that way. I forget that my audience goes beyond the Fragile X Community. In Iowa there are five kinds of Waivers: Ill and Handicapped, Mental Retardation, AIDS/HIV, Elderly, and Brain Injury.


Kristiem10 said...

Awesome! I am off to check it out now. We, too have gotten the runaround when we asked about it.

Jennie said...

You are the most wonderful girl ever. That was exceptionally written.