Medicaid Piece of Mind to a Family of Five

Last updated: May 23, 2024

We are a family of five. Because our family’s combined income is below 138% of the poverty level, we qualify for Medicaid under RIteCare.

“Medicaid matters to our family because it provides piece of mind. It matters because our children’s health, my family’s well-being, is dependent on my staying healthy. Medicaid provides coverage that helps keep me well."

Tara Townsend

Prior to my first child’s birth, I was a full-time teacher in Warwick.  During my pregnancy, I learned that there were going to be some complications with my unborn baby boy.  The doctors had diagnosed him with a neuro-muscular disorder.  Andrew was born 5 weeks early and spent his first 3.5 months in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. At the time, because of my job, both Andrew and I were covered under my employer insurance, but because of Andrew’s condition, he qualified for Medicaid under SSI, which covered hospital co-pays.  When I got home with him, Medicaid covered the nursing help we needed. Our nurse helped support and educate me on how to care for him. Honestly, Medicaid has been crucial to helping Andrew not only survive, but to thrive despite his challenges. 

In that first year after Andrew’s birth, I realized that I couldn’t go back to teaching. I was Andrew’s primary caretaker; he needed me.  So, I resigned.  That meant giving up my employer health insurance.  Luckily, I qualified for Medicaid under Rhode Island’s RiteCare program. This was critical to keeping me healthy so that I could care for Andrew.

It’s been almost 10 years and my own life has evolved.  With my fiancée I have two healthy younger children.  We both work.  I work part-time in social services for a non-profit and my fiancée’s employer does not provide coverage.  Our RIteCare eligibility can be confusing sometimes because the criterion for us as parents vs. for our kids varies.  I try not to worry about it and continue to move forward with our lives.  But it is always at the back of mind because, especially for parents caring for young children, staying healthy is so important. 

Having Andrew in our lives is a blessing, even though it brings certain challenges. But every working family faces its own unique challenges.  The RIteCare program means that lower-income working families are free from the worry of how to pay for coverage and can, with peace of mind, focus on building their lives for the future.