Montgomery amputee still searching for health insurance answers - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Montgomery amputee still searching for health insurance answers

Doris Luster lost her left leg about a year ago. That put her out of work with no insurance. Doris Luster lost her left leg about a year ago. That put her out of work with no insurance.
MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -

We first told you about Doris Luster Monday. Luster is an amputee and having trouble getting health insurance she can afford.

We now have an update, and there is good and bad news. We did find some help for Luster but still don't have the answers she needs.

Luster has spent most of her life taking care of the elderly until about a year ago. Gangrene took her left leg above the knee. She also has diabetes and high blood pressure.

She has not been able to work since she lost her leg and has no insurance.

Thanks to a one-time gift from Easter Seals, Luster has a prosthesis and has relearned how to walk. However, the amputation site has changed a lot so her prosthesis needs major adjustments that require new parts and her supplies are wearing out.

The staff at Alabama Artificial Limb tried to help her get insurance through the Affordable Care Act. For three hours Luster ran into trouble on the website, got disconnected on the phone and found few answers. She also couldn't find anything she could afford.

"The disability I get are $951, and the insurance that she looked over would be $400. That would be out of the $951 trying to live. I couldn't pay that," Luster said. "I'm so used to getting up and going, I felt like if something happened to this leg I would feel like I would be down again."

Since we told you about her story on Monday, we've learned about Enroll Alabama – a volunteer organization that helps people navigate through the marketplace and determine if they're eligible for subsidies.

We arranged for Doris to meet with a navigator Thursday but still didn't get the news we wanted.

Turns out, Luster's $951 monthly disability check doesn't add up to enough money in a year to quality for her subsidies.

"It's not a hand out, it's a definitely a hand up because you have to have income in order to qualify," said Monette Harrison with Enroll Alabama.

Luster said getting a part-time job would help a lot.

"Not a whole day or nothing like that, maybe about 4 hours or something, that's the best I can do in a day's time," Luster said.

Because of her disability, Luster's application is automatically routed to the Medicaid office. She's been told it will take about four to six weeks to process her application. There are also questions out there about what types of coverage Medicaid will officer, particularly as it pertains to her amputation.

Luster said if she's finding this much trouble getting help, she knows there must be others out there who need it too. She hopes the answers she finds will help other people in similar situations.

Since we shared her story this week, an account has been established to help raise money for Luster. Can donate to the Doris A. Luster Account at Wells Fargo Bank.

Copyright 2014 WSFA 12 News. All rights reserved.

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