When she migrated to the United States, Yetunde Yusuf knew that one of the first things she had to do was to insure her children. In this article, she shares the lessons she learned in the process.
While her husband lived and worked in the United States, Yetunde was in Nigeria with her two young children. However, she had the support of her sisters, her mother, and her mother-in-law. "I only saw my first child when it was time for him to eat," she says, smiling.
It took a long time for the family to have the documents to migrate, but the day finally came, and Yetunde left her home in Lagos, Nigeria, to join her husband in their new home in 2017.
"I've had a lot of family members living in the US, so I pretty much understood the way the system works. I was kind of aware of the way things worked, and my husband tried as much as possible to explain to me. So, the change wasn't so drastic," Yetunde explains.
One of the advantages of knowing the system beforehand was to choose the place where they would live based on the school where they wanted to send their children. "The area where you live is going to determine the kind of kids your children are going to be with all the time. So, what do you want for your kids?", reflects Yetunde.
But before getting their children to school, they had to be vaccinated, which was when she was first told about getting the children insured through Medicaid. These are a few of the things she has learned so far.
1. Get a job
To get insured, Yetunde explains, "You need to have a job and make sure that it falls within the stipulated amount of income for the household." The reason for this is that Medicaid only applies to families under certain limits of annual income.
2. Use the website or call
You can visit https://www.insurekidsnow.gov/, or if you are in Texas, call 211. There you will get a representative. "The representative will ask you what exactly you're calling for. Let them know you're looking for health insurance, and they will guide you."
3. Have your documents ready
Basically, You will need your children's birth certificates, your passport or ID, and your paystub. "That's what determines if you get health insurance, what you make in a month," says Yetunde. There are other considerations, such as the total number of people in the household, which is why it is so important to provide all the documents that support your claim.
4. Be careful
Make sure you report any changes in your situation in a prompt manner. Failing to do so may result in trouble down the line. "If you make any mistake, it might be difficult to correct. It actually happened to me. I changed jobs and put my new paystub, but forgot to remove my old job from the system. So, I went above the income, and they called me up. So, I had to go back all over again to apply before I was able to get them back on," remembers Yetunde.
5. Know your coverage
Yetunde's children have "100% medical insurance wherever they go to, and we don't have any copayment". It also covers their prescriptions, but not over-the-counter medicines. Nevertheless, since Medicaid is state-specific, coverage may vary. So, make sure you know your coverage and what is included in your insurance policy.
Having her children covered means a huge relief for someone coming from a country where you usually have to pay for your medical expenses. This gives Yetunde the peace of mind to focus on her job in childcare development. "I try as much as possible to get better educated, do more courses, and advance in my career," she says.