Steffany, 36, from New Mexico, lives with epilepsy, fibromyalgia, and several other chronic conditions. She takes twelve medications, including one for her epilepsy, and uses a vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) device for seizure control. She is dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid on the basis of her income and disability.
Steffany first enrolled in Medicaid in 2010, qualifying on the basis of income. In New Mexico, most Medicaid beneficiaries must work at least part-time to maintain eligibility. When Steffany went back to school to become a medical administrative assistant, she lost eligibility for Medicaid, and applied for Medicare to cover the costs of her medical care.
In 2013, Medicare declared Steffany totally disabled and eligible for coverage. Today, Steffany is working part-time, and has become eligible for Medicaid again. Medicaid helps her afford Medicare premiums, and picks up the cost of co-pays for specialist visits. To live well with epilepsy and fibromyalgia, Steffany visits multiple specialists each week. Without Medicare and Medicaid, her medical costs would reach tens of thousands of dollars per month.
Steffany is grateful for Medicaid’s financial support. She says, “If I didn’t have Medicaid picking up my co-pays and premiums, [health care] would be hard to afford.”