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In 2009, Russell “Rusty” Alexander was a full-time maintenance worker. His employer offered health insurance, but it was $150 per paycheck. Rusty was only on the plan one month before he realized that the remaining $300 did not allow enough money to cover expenses for he and his wife – the basics, food, gas, rent, car insurance, and other needs. Fortunately, Rusty had a friend who told him about North Coast Health.
“I was a tough case, with a big mental block that says it must go this way. That things have to be black and white,” says Rusty. But over time with North Coast Health’s medical team, which included support for chronic disease and behavioral health counseling, Rusty admits that they “got me to see that it doesn’t have to be that way.” North Coast Health was also able to help Rusty enroll in prescription assistance, a move he says was the only way he would be able to continue to receive his medicines.
Rusty is like one of many of our patients struggling with chronic disease and the challenges of insurance coverage. He is not old enough for Medicare, and painfully, just $49 per month over the threshold to qualify for expanded Medicaid coverage. He is currently enrolled in a spend-down plan and must incur $749 per month in medical bills before any benefits kick-in, “I am stuck in-between; stuck in this circle!”
Rusty is just one example of the challenges of being low-income, but not qualifying for coverage.
Rusty could easily be our PR department when he says, “You are incredible, I am so proud of this group.” When asked for one word to describe NCH and the role in his life, Rusty said–“Par-Excellence – it is a Latin word and means, excellence, excellence beyond compare. No one can match you and your compassion – you are the tops!”