The Katie Beckett Deeming Waiver application to obtain Medicaid for a child with special needs is a whale of an undertaking. My husband and I spent an estimated 40-50 hours total over the course of two months preparing a 280-page application. The information for filling out the application forms is a bear to find, and the reports and notes you have to obtain from medical providers is just an endless list. From a couple of Facebook groups we are a part of, we were hearing that the turnaround time folks were experiencing on initial applications was 2-3 months. We submitted a few days before Christmas and weren't expecting to hear anything until at least Valentine's Day, maybe even well into March.
The state Medicaid office uses third parties to send out their mail, so there is no rhyme or reason to the sender name or address that you might get a notice from. Since the day we submitted our application, we've laboriously opened every single piece of mail, even if it looks like spam, just in case it was Medicaid communication through a third party sender. My husband was faithfully tearing into each item the other day and paused, staring at the paper inside. He asked me to look at it with him, and it took both of us a few minutes to digest what it said: In just over a month, we had received an approval for Medicaid for M!
I was completely shocked. It took about an hour and multiple times reading the letter for it to sink in. All of those hours, all of the frustration, all of the jumping through hoops of every medical practice's different policies, all of the double- and triple-checking - it had actually worked. It had been enough. For an overachiever and perfectionist, it was a huge relief that the immense effort we put into this application was deemed enough.
Not only did they approve our coverage, they backdated it to three months prior to our application date. That means we can resubmit claims from as early as September that our private insurance didn't fully cover and we were on the hook for. That was quite a chunk of change because our high deductible had reset in November. We were overwhelmed and incredibly grateful. I wanted to go down to the office and give our case worker a big hug and box of chocolates.
Obtaining Medicaid is hugely helpful in having additional coverage beyond our private insurance to provide for M's therapy needs. In addition, now that we are approved for Medicaid, we can apply for a couple of additional aids that will help significantly with health care costs. One is applying for the Georgia HIPP program, which provides reimbursement for health insurance premiums, incentivizing Medicaid clients to keep their primary insurance coverage. Second, we can apply for the NOW/Comp Waiver, which assists with alternative therapies, adaptive equipment, and respite services.
Since being approved, I've found myself in the intersection of multiple very strong emotions. First, relief that I don't have to work on an appeal or gathering any additional information to obtain this approval. Second, gratitude that we now have this incredibly helpful way to help provide the care M truly needs. Third, I feel hope for the first time that we can survive this diagnosis financially. Fourth, I feel a bit of dread as I start to assemble my mental task list for the next applications.
One thing I am learning is that, on this special needs adventure we're journeying, I rarely feel just one emotion. It's mostly a tangled web of intersecting feelings, some positive and some negative. The challenge for me is learning to be comfortable in the existence of all of those emotions simultaneously.
In the midst of all of the intersecting emotions, we are certainly celebrating this approval. Happy dance!!!