Colfax Man with Cancer Scrambles After Health Assistance Dropped by DHS

COLFAX, Iowa --  It’s been a hard stretch for Glen McGinness. Three months ago, during a routine checkup his doctor gave him maybe the worst news you can get.

“Well, it was just a shock,” said McGinness.

He was diagnosed with prostate cancer and treatment needed to start right away.   After the initial shock, Glen started to meet with a team of doctors and they developed a plan. Then just last week he got another piece of bad news in the mail.

“Your medical assistance will be cancelled effective on July 1st 2017,” said McGinness as he read a letter he received from the Iowa Department of Human Services.  

The letter stated he lost his coverage because he wasn’t eligible for Social Security.  McGinness says that was a mistake as he received his payment earlier this month.   Scared, confused and out of options he thought of the worst.

“If I don’t get treatment what am I going to do? How am I going to explain it to my grandkids,” asked McGinness.

Up to that point, McGinness had no answers from anyone about why he was denied.

So, we went to work to get Glen answers.  DHS wouldn't tell us why, they couldn’t talk about his case because of privacy issues.   But someone would be contacting him today to resolve it and they did.

At 4:00 p.m. Friday afternoon, Glen got the call that might save his life.

DHS reinstated his coverage but didn’t comment on why it was cancelled.  Iowa Legal Aid also helped Glen with his situation.  They say always file an appeal if you get a letter like McGinness did no matter the reason of denial.

“There is a shorter deadline if people want to their benefits to continue during the appeals period.  So, it’s important to act quickly,” said Rybolt.

Their office is handling more cases like this than normal.  The key in these cases is to file that appeal.  You can maintain coverage until the appeals process is complete.

"If you’re not sure what a notice you received is saying or what you should do, don’t hesitate to reach out and ask for help from our office,” said Rybolt.

A DHS official told us it’s very common for coverage to be dropped.  Around 10,000 people move in and out of the system each month.  They stressed to answer any letters or return any calls to avoid this situation from happening to you.