Man Battles for His Life, Medicaid Coverage

8:27 PM, Aug 3, 2007   |    comments
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(Columbia) – A Columbia man received news no one wants to hear last July: diagnosis of not one, but two serious illnesses. He says he's unable to seek proper treatment because of complications with Medicaid. Living with Hepatitis C and Cirrhosis of the Liver hasn’t come easy for Chan McCaskill. "If I don't get a liver transplant, I've been told that I will die," McCaskill said. 44-years-old and too sick to work a job, McCaskill spends most of his days retracing the steps he took trying to apply for Medicaid. "It does seem that I've shot myself in the foot by leaving Delaware. How I wish I knew what I know now. I would have stayed," he said. Diagnosed with Hepatitis C and Cirrhosis last July, McCaskill moved back to Columbia in April. He lives with mom now, but McCaskill says the state’s Medicaid program for the disabled has been less hospitable. In Delaware Medicaid covered his expenses, but four months have gone by and McCaskill says his question of eligibility in South Carolina remains unanswered. "I wasn't asking for anything I didn't feel like I was due," he says. News 19 spoke with Medicaid officials who say that once an application like Mr. McCaskill's arrives at their office, an outside organization, the Department of Vocational Rehabilitation, takes a look at it to determine whether or not the applicant is disabled. Officials say the process can be slow. While he's waited, McCaskill says he's been unable to pay for treatment and hospital visits. He fears he's getting sicker by the day. His one hope to continue: his 17-year-old son, Joshua, back up in Delaware. McCaskill says he'll see the Medicaid process through to the end. "Unfortunately we live in a society where two things happen. You either have cash or you have insurance, and I find myself unfortunately without either right now," McCaskill said. Officials say when cases like McCaskill's are denied eligibility, the decision can be appealed. Medicaid officials say anyone who feels they were wrongly denied coverage is encouraged to appeal. For more information on the process, click here.

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