BISMARCK, N.D. – Paying for medical bills isn’t easy for some, but the state’s Special Health Services initiative looks to help offset some of those costs.
As of May 1, the program’s income eligibility requirement increased, allowing families to make more and still qualify for services.
A family of four will be able to earn just over $49,000 and still be able to receive financial coverage for children 21 and under who have special health care needs.
Teina Rust’s main goal is keeping her kids happy and feeling good, but the cost of their medical bills puts strains on the family’s budget.
“Jurnee’s hormone therapy alone is over $3,000 a month before insurance. Teya has had well over $4 million worth of procedures since she was two months old,” said Rust.
Rust and her husband have three kids, each child has their own their medical condition.
“Jaedyn is autistic. Jurnee had a brain tumor four years ago now she’s legally blind with some, I guess residual medical issues because of chemo and radiation, and Teya had facial and airway hemangiomas diagnosed when she was two-months-old,” said Rust.
The Rust family is using Special Health Services to help pay for some of the expensive medical bills.
“After our primary and then North Dakota special health kicks in and help curbs some of those prices. We do have a spend-down, we have to meet a certain requirement, and then they take care of the remainder of the balance after that,” said Rust.
Health officials say approximately one in five children in North Dakota has a special health care need.
Families must be North Dakota residents and meet medical and financial guidelines.
“It just depends on are they eligible where they have to pay a portion or are they eligible where we can pick up 100% right away. Some of those medical conditions, we have over 100 of them, but they range from asthma, diabetes, heart conditions, you know kind of some of those common ones,” said Special Health Services claims and eligibility administrator Tina Feigitsch.
The Special Health Services program serves around 1800 kids in North Dakota.
To determine whether a child qualifies, families may contact the SHS office at 1-800-755-2714.