The state's new Medicaid deadline is just 48 days away. And those who will lose benefits on September 15th remain worried. For the past month, Medicaid officials have been trying to educate recipients about changes to the plan and their health care options.
On Thursday, Medicaid officials held a meeting in Gulfport the main message "Don't wait until it's too late" but many who went looking for answers what they learned left them scratching their heads.
After years of smoking, Mitchell Rodgers has heart trouble and emphysema.. After a two-and-a-half hour meeting on Medicaid, Rodgers says he has more frustrations than when he walked in.
"Really, a lot of mumbo jumbo," said Stephens. "I didn't get anything out of it."
Karlyn Stephens already knows her mentally retarded son will lose his prescription coverage. Like so many others, She came here to explore the options.
"Who I'm really worried about is the people for whom all of these instructions like we're getting today are way too complicated for them to understand," said Stephens. "I'm having a terrible time and I have a college degree."
Though many still have more questions than answers, any information is better than none.
Darlene Brennan works for a home health provider. She says the state is "Letting people know and the citizens know that there is help out there. They're not just being dropped from programs without some of them trying to do something to help them."
"We understand that some people are taking the approach that they have until September 15th to do this," said Medicaid worker Bonlitha Windham. "We'd like for them to go ahead start the process, take care of this now so that Sept. 15 or 16th, they won't be without some assistance."
Mitchell Rodgers and his wife have figured out what it will get them assistance. A divorce. After 30 years of marriage, three children, and seven grandchildren, they say it may be the only way for each of them to get the prescriptions they need.
Hazel Rodgers has "done a lot of crying. We've done a lot of soul searching but look at what is best for us individually. He's got all these medical problems that has to be taken care of and financially we cannot pay this."
Medicaid officials plan to hold more informational meetings in our area soon. Two meetings are planned for August 5th. The first will be in Stone County at the Big Level Community Center from 9 am until 12pm.
Another meeting will take place later that day in Lucedale at the George County Senior Citizens Building from 1:30 until 4:30 in the afternoon.
The regional Medicaid office will also make speakers available to Church and civic groups to talk about the Medicaid changes. To schedule a speaker call 1800-421-2408.