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Massachusetts health care — wonky, with a healthy dose of reality

Real Voices: Your Weekly Dose from the HCFA Helpline

Real Voices: Your Weekly Dose from the HCFA Helpline

May 2, 2009

Every week we highlight the voices of real people that contact our Helpline every day. Once a week you will be introduced to a family whose life has changed for the better due to health reform. If you or anyone you know needs assistance applying for free or low-cost health care coverage, please contact our Helpline online, or call 1-800-272-4232. Here’s this week’s entry:

Thomas realized the importance of having access to health insurance after he suffered two strokes in the same year. He used to enjoy life by simply doing everything he liked to do, like drinking regularly, smoking, and not doing any exercise. His mistake was to think that this kind of lifestyle could last forever.

He says that he never liked going to the doctor, and in his mind he would never need to see one. But when the stroke hit, Thomas was brought to an emergency room by one of his teenage daughters. At the time he worried that it would cost him so much that probably he might never be able to afford to pay for all the medical expenses.

That’s when Thomas learned about the health coverage offered by the state to low-income uninsured people, and also got to know about Health Care For All at the facility he was in. Soon after, he contacted the Helpline counselors for orientation and help in filling out the MassHealth and Commonwealth Care application.

A few weeks of submitting application and documents needed to MassHealth, Thomas was notified about his Commonwealth Care eligibility, and could continue his treatment to prevent any kind of serious stroke from happening again. Since then he has been taking medicine to make his blood to flow smoothly in his arteries, and has been going to the physical therapy regularly. Thomas said having been so close to death, he now knows that having the access to an affordable and quality health insurance is something vital for every human being. Here is what he had to say:

“I almost thought I would die, or maybe have my life completed changed having to live like a vegetable. I still can see the looks in my daughters’ faces when they saw me at the hospital. We all thought that I wouldn’t be able to make it. But thank God, MassHealth, and Health Care For All that helped me in all the best way to make it possible for me to be treated by great professionals at a wonderful Institution.”

Monika Lira Malhoit