Life Saving and Service Providing
Living in West Virginia most of his life, James “Corey” Beahm knows and has experienced the love of our people for 38 years, “We have a compassion others don’t understand.” As a well over six-foot-tall, 250 plus pound WV man, people sense his presence not only physically but emotionally as well. As a dedicated social worker for over 15 years, Corey has re-engaged members of his community into life, activities, and their families. Thanks to West Virginia Medicaid programs, Corey is alive and able to continue working to better our state and empower our youth.
In April of 2018, while at a festival concert in Washington D.C., suddenly experienced an edema type complication with both of his feet and legs, “They were swelling up to three times their normal size.” Realizing something was wrong, and already having a primary care physical checkup scheduled in two days, Corey decided to wait. Medicaid was his health insurance program at the time because he had recently left his Parents-As-Teachers role with the Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) due to the health complications he was facing. He is grateful Medicaid was there for him because the primary care doctor had no idea what was going on with the swelling in his legs. With a referral to a gastrointestinal physician, auto-immune testing, organ biopsies, Corey was diagnosed with a disease known as Primary Membranous Neuropathy.
Medicaid covered his medical treatments during time which included chemotherapy for 9 months (pill and injection form), doctors visits, steroid treatments, and hospital stays.
Today, Corey is living with Stage 3 kidney disease and this auto-immune condition. Taking over 30 pills a day, including medicine and supplements, without the Medicaid coverage he would not be able to afford the $5,000 per month costs for his pill treatments. Corey has been able to keep working thanks to the West Virginia Medicaid (M-WIN program). M-WIN is a work incentive program for people with disabilities or chronic health conditions. It allows individuals who work, to pay a monthly premium and keep or obtain Medicaid healthcare coverage. M-WIN eliminates a major barrier to employment - losing current healthcare benefits when an individual with a disability returns to work. It also creates an incentive for individuals with disabilities to obtain employment and earn health care coverage.
If it was not for West Virginia Medicaid:
- I wouldn’t be alive
- I wouldn’t be working
Corey, even though he technically meets four of the five criteria to qualify for Social Security, does not take that income source, “Even though I live off next to nothing as a social worker, I don’t want to live off $1,100 of social security a month.” The M-WIN programs allows Corey to work in his vital role as a community social worker, “For $80.50 per month, in leu of having to pay for private health coverage I could never afford. I’m able to go to work every day and be productive, putting the programs in place to address youth and opioids, working to empower these guys and girls so they can change our state outlook in one generation.”
Thanks to West Virginia Medicaid and the M-WIN program, Corey acknowledges, “My state has basically kept me alive through healthcare.” As a young professional, he can continue to live and make a difference in is community daily. Corey shared his story in hopes it would empower others and knows the importance of healthcare, “We are all just one disease, one accident away, for our worlds to be flipped upside down.”
“Medicaid is saving lives and giving people the ability to live productive lives.”
West Virginians Together for Medicaid thanks Corey for standing up for Medicaid by sharing his personal story. If you are interested in sharing your Medicaid or CHIP story, reach out to us on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/WVTFM/) or Twitter @WVTFMedicaid by sending us a message or give our Story Collection Coordinator, Lara Foster, a call 304-702-6708. Your story can help more West Virginians understand how important Medicaid is to our state’s families.