HEPHZIBAH, Ga. (WJBF) – This month thousands of Georgians lost their Medicaid benefits. While state officials said people failed to respond to those notices, lawyers with Georgia Legal Services fired back and said no notices were ever sent.
The Joseph family still has not received a letter in the mail.
However, Marva Joseph said she usually receives her husband’s renewal notice in June or July. They have replied back without incident for the past eight years.
We wanted to talk with them, despite not receiving this cut off notice, about the important and vital role Medicaid plays in their lives.
“I would say probably about $7,000 a month,” she said.
That’s the out of pocket cost Marva Joseph tells NewsChannel 6 she and her husband Theodore could be facing without Medicaid.
“That’s $84,000 a year,” she exclaimed, adding that she would have to earn around $200,000 annually to cover those costs and the household bills.
Marva takes care of Theodore, so she’s not working. He’s an around the clock job after his health failed.
“The 8th of August, 2011, he was on his way to work and he had a stroke. The car ran off the road,” she recalled of her husband’s incident. “From then, he has been paralyzed. The whole left side, he can’t really move himself.”
Theodore and Marva hail from Trinidad. Marva said she and her husband lived in a few other states, but eventually he came to Augusta to work as a Psychology professor at Paine College.
After learning that 17,000 Georgians were cut off from Medicaid, she was concerned due to her own situation.
She said, “I was like am I next?”
For the past eight years the family has submitted renewal notices in the mail without incident, Marva told us. That’s something lawyers with Georgia Legal Services said their clients who were cut off never received prior to the termination letter.
Chade’ Franklin, an attorney with Georgia Legal Services, said the number is now up to 30,000 people expected to be cut off from Medicaid.
The Josephs have hope though that they will be spared.
“Our case is really dire and anybody can come and see that we need it,” Marva Joseph said on why she suspects her husband will not be impacted.
His case is so dire, Theodore needs assistance from home health care workers.
“Somebody comes in the morning and helps me with bathing him and getting him ready for the day, while I prepare his meals. Then they come back in the evening,” she explained. “So, we have two hours in the morning and two hours in the evening.”
Three days a week he’s in adult day care. Marva said Medicaid pays for that transportation too.
While navigating this state based service can be tough, Joseph said she has help from local doctors who care.
She shared about the Augusta University physician, “Thank you Dr. Hess. He has been my angel from the beginning until now.”
Franklin added some of those who were cut off can submit a renewal or application to DFACS between June and August to be reinstated. But some of them cannot. She does advise anyone who receives a letter to appeal immediately and go before a judge to preserve benefits.
You can also call Georgia Legal Services at (800) 498-9469 or call the Public Benefits hotline at (888) 632-6332.