Stefanie's story - California
It’s been a long, painful road for Stefanie who lost her husband, James, to ALS (also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease) in November 2017. She was his full-time caregiver for more than three years and also supported him during earlier treatment for cancer.
When he died, Stefanie, 53, was left to deal with her grief – but also with the very real worry about how to manage her own health. She had worked in the home caring for her family for many years and lost her coverage when James passed away.
Stefanie turned to Jessica Duarte, who leads the community health insurance team at Providence Little Company of Mary in Torrance, Calif. Jessica had been very helpful with insurance issues during James’s long illness, and she was able to guide Stefanie in applying for Medi-Cal (California’s Medicaid program). When coverage began in February 2018, it was a relief for Stefanie.
At present, she has no major health issues and plans to use her Medicaid coverage mainly for preventive care.
“Having experienced and witnessed such a catastrophic illness, I have a new perspective on the absolute need for access to qualified and professional medical care,” says Stefanie. “This is particularly important for those who don’t have the financial resources to accommodate potentially life-threatening situations.”
In terms of the future, Stefanie is learning to be self sufficient and hopes to find a job with health care benefits within the next year. “Life always has a way of throwing us unexpected curveballs,” she says. “With the passing of my husband, I am so thankful to have peace of mind when it comes to my own health care until I can get back on my feet.”