Smile for Medicaid

For the sake of my pearly whites, I hope this overhaul works out

I should consider myself lucky to have health insurance, but I cannot help but notice how flawed my program really is.

I am referring to the well-known social insurance program known as Medicaid, which has been my primary health care provider for a long while. Right now, I have Health Plan of Michigan, which many doctors’ offices are no longer accepting. Now, it is even more difficult to find a “decent” doctor, dentist or counselor.

According to an an article from published on July 23, 2007 from the “Wall Street Journal”, a growing number of physicians are no longer accepting new Medicaid beneficiaries because of federal payment cuts and rising health costs. Although this article was published over two years ago, the concept remains the same: fewer physicians are accepting Medicaid.

A more recent article, “Medicaid Expansion Would Guarantee Coverage, Not Care”, published on on Sept. 22, 2009, and stated that about 40 percent of physicians do not accept new Medicaid patients.

The article continued to explain that while the Democrats want to expand Medicaid eligibility, how beneficial would it be if a majority of health care providers refuse it?

Although a good number of dentists do not accept Medicaid, I recently was able to come across one who did. I made an appointment to visit this dental practice to see if they were able to conduct some specific dental work. Because of my insurance, the dentist explained he could only pull out my teeth, not fix them.

Needless to say, I did not return to that dentist for a second visit. I refuse to have my generally healthy teeth yanked out of my mouth because of the lack of coverage provided by my health insurance.

I suppose that explains the results of a 2007 survey by the American Dental Association that stated fewer than 27 percent of respondents treated Medicaid-insured patients.

Because I am an independent college student, Medicaid is the only health insurance program I am eligible for.

The low rates in payment of Medicaid must certainly contribute to health care providers’ refusal of accepting the social insurance program. That makes it all the more difficult for citizens with Medicaid to find decent health care providers for their medical, dental and emotional wellbeing.

I recently learned that one of my health care providers was no longer accepting Medicaid and I was definitely less than thrilled about the news. For my next and most likely final appointment, I will be paying out of pocket. Unfortunately, I cannot afford to pay out of pocket for every appointment at this point in my life.

My hope is the health care reform bill will aid in providing citizens with a more efficient form of health insurance, or improve the Medicaid system altogether. In addition, it would be appreciated, by myself and others in my situation, if more health care practitioners began accepting Medicaid in the near future.

I cannot wait until the day I get a decent job that will offer decent health insurance with reliable coverage. Until that time however, I will have to rely on Medicaid. I can only hope that the health care reform is successful and that Medicaid will improve drastically or a better option will become available. I am much too young for dentures.