Medicaid expansion helps couple receive much-needed care

Tim and Gwen Weintraub have never had health insurance despite dealing with health issues for years. Fortunately, expansion of Medicaid coverage in Oklahoma will mean they can receive health care coverage.

“With my health problems, I really needed it to get the care that I need,” Gwen said. “I had to do without because I didn’t have insurance.”

Since she didn’t have insurance or a primary care physician, Gwen had to keep going to the emergency room due to her health issues. While people who are insured by Medicaid are unlikely to rely primarily on the emergency room, Gwen’s lack of insurance meant that, at one point, she was going three times a week.

“Everytime we went to the emergency room, it just racked up [bills],” Tim said. “It was really hard, difficult to keep going to the emergency room instead of going to a primary doctor.”

Tim, Gwen’s husband, has asthma and deals with anxiety, which has been difficult to manage without health insurance.

“We have aged quite a bit and we really need more health care than what we’ve been getting,” Gwen said.

Tim and Gwen are among the thousand of Oklahomans now eligible for Medicaid coverage thanks to the state implementing Medicaid expansion on July 1, 2021. The newly gained coverage will allow Tim and Gwen to receive consistent care for their health issues.

“It will do a lot of Oklahomans good to have insurance finally. A lot of people don’t go to the hospital because they don’t have insurance, so they just stay at home and suffer and try to deal with it,” Tim said. “Now that people will have it, it will help a lot of people out – older and younger.”

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Tim and Gwen’s story was collected through our Countdown to Care campaign leading up to the July 1, 2021, implementation of Oklahoma’s Medicaid expansion.  The campaign was designed to help raise awareness about expansion while encouraging Oklahomans who need health care to apply with the Oklahoma Health Care Authority.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Miguel Rios joined OK Policy as its Storybanker in May 2020. His career in communications began at Oklahoma City University where he graduated as a Clara Luper Scholar with a B.A. in Mass Communications. Before joining OK Policy, Miguel worked for Oklahoma Gazette, Oklahoma Living magazine and the State Fair of Texas public relations team. Through his diverse work experiences in various areas of communication, Miguel has become dedicated to providing a voice and platform to those who are often overlooked. A proud Mexican immigrant, Miguel carries his passion for empowering marginalized communities in every arena.

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