To the Office of the Governor: good morning.
I am writing to you as a woman who is 39 weeks pregnant. I have applied for Medicaid at least seven times, and every time have received a pitiful excuse regarding why my application was not approved. As a Missourian whose gross income will be less than $10,000 this year, as a person who dedicates her time to volunteer work and is in the process of establishing a 501c3 nonprofit to provide fresh fruit and vegetables to under-served, low-income families, and as a pregnant woman who has dutifully paid taxes her entire working life, the unavailability and inaccessibility of health care services to those who qualify is a damning representation of Missouri's dedication to its families.
Timeliness is a glaring issue when it comes to application response. For several applications I received by mail requests for more information, but in all of these instances I received the request either on the day of or after the last day to send a response for approval. I always sent in the information anyway, but when I followed up I would be told that I would have to reapply for benefits because the information was too late.
Other applications garnered no response from DSS other than a denial letter 6 weeks later. When I would call to ask why my application was not approved, I would be told that I did not respond to requests for more information. I followed up with this statement because I never received these requests to which I needed to respond. One worker was able to look up my information and found that these requests were returned non-deliverable because the address was wrong. Tell me Governor: how could DSS enter my address incorrectly for followup requests but have it correct for denial letters? I am still very confused about that and would love some information as to how that happens.
Several months ago I went to an office in the hopes of speaking to a case worker, in order to turn in my information all at once and expedite the process. I even brought in photocopies of every bit of personal information I thought necessary — proof of pregnancy, my state identification, birth certificate, pay stubs, et cetera — to save the workers some time! Unfortunately, I found out one can no longer visit with case workers in person and was told to fill out a paper application. Even more unfortunate than this is the fact that the under-dressed employee who was concurrently making a call on his personal cell phone gave me the wrong application to fill out (in this case, the application for disabled persons), and again my application was denied as I am not disabled.
Last week I printed out and mailed yet another application and included copies of every document that has been requested previously, but I am not feeling very hopeful. Considering that I have applied so many times and been denied through no fault of my own, I feel like the state of Missouri and the Department of Social Services have left me in a bind and with no options other than begging the hospital for a deduction in fees when I go into labor which, again, could be any day. This is an absolute failure of the health care system enacted by the state, and I am ashamed of what I have experienced and how I have been treated in the 32 weeks since my first application for Missouri Medicaid was submitted.
Could your office please explain to me what I have done wrong? How could I have made this process easier? Do I have any hope for receiving MoHealthNet benefits and if so, can I be refunded for the 32 weeks of doctor's fees I have paid out of pocket since my first application was wrongfully denied?
Thank you for your time. Please let me know what I can do as soon as possible.