When Ladonna Mclean, a junior studying art, discovered the Medicaid policy change, she was helping another student with their student health plan. The change left Mclean confused.
“Medicaid for me has been like a lifeline,” Mclean said.
Medicaid served as Mclean’s insurance for most of her life, providing easier access to health care for her and her family. Now that Mclean claims residency in Rexburg, she qualifies for Idaho’s Medicaid program.
“When you’re going to the doctor multiple times a week, you have co-pays here, co-pays there and everything is different, so those numbers add up,” Mclean said.
Medicaid helps balance out the cost.
Mclean suffers from Hypophosphatemic Rickets, a bone disease that leaves her with vitamin D, calcium and phosphorus deficiencies.
“My bones are a lot weaker than the average person,” Mclean said.
As a child, Mclean frequented doctors’ offices in her hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina; seeing specialists, getting surgeries and monitoring growth. Mclean said she doesn’t remember a time when she took less than five different medications.
“The older I get, the worse the condition gets and the more treatment that I need,” Mclean said.
Since her disability makes daily movement difficult, Mclean cannot work as much as other students.
“I am a disabled student, so finding work is very difficult for me to manage without overworking my body,” Mclean said.
Before the Medicaid policy reversal, Mclean no longer qualified for the Student Health Plan waiver and planned to move back home for a “more portable” system she can work with.
“This isn’t something that’s just simple for me. If I get other insurance along with my Medicaid, my medical expenses go up,” Mclean said.
Mclean said if she could have easier access to the resources she needs medically, and had known that BYU-I was going to change their medical insurance policy to its original standing, she would continue to attend classes at BYU-I.
Instead of continuing to enroll at BYU-I, Mclean made a quick decision to apply for her associate’s degree and still cannot attend next semester because those arrangements have already been made.
“My lease at my apartment was up, I could no longer work because of medical problems and I couldn’t afford the school’s healthcare plan nor any of the secondary providers around town because of the type of care I need and the frequency in which I go to a doctor,” Mclean said.
Before the University’s reversal decision, Mclean even gave her apartment manager a notice saying she would not renew her contract.
“I think it’s wonderful that they are accepting it again,” Mclean said, “I’m glad they heard and changed for their students. However, there will be students like me who are still leaving because we’ve had to make hasty plans for what to do next.”
Despite the university’s reconsideration of the policy, the damage and disappointment remain apparent for Mclean.
“Though with (the policy reversal) everyone can progressively move forward into a better experience at our university,” Mclean said. “I am also hopeful that this situation will better help the university with making future changes and policies.”
Mclean hopes to take some online classes but is unsure if she will return to the BYU-I campus.