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Story Collective

Now is your chance to tell your own story about how you use Medicaid to keep you and your family healthy.

Wanda Bell

Wanda Bell


Wanda lives in West Helena. She is a Medicaid and Medicare beneficiary -- having “WellCare” as a Medicare Advantage Plan, and Medicaid, which pays her Medicare premiums and co-pays. 

When Wanda was younger, she was in a very bad car accident; her head went through the windshield, and she sustained some serious injuries. Wanda eventually recovered from her accident -- so she thought, -- and became a truck and school bus driver. 

In 2014, while Wanda was transporting her students, she began to feel strange. She says that she began having limited mobility which intensified to the point that she was suddenly unable to move. Miraculously, she was able to complete her bus route, and no one was harmed, but she had to be assisted by her co-workers to get to her car and make it home.  

As soon as she could, Wanda made an appointment to see a doctor in Jonesboro. At her doctor’s appointment, they informed Wanda that she was partially paralyzed. The discs in her back were gone. Wanda thinks that the accident and numerous hours of truck driving contributed to her back problems. In an effort to correct this, Wanda had emergency surgery in 2015. During the surgery, the doctors replaced the discs in her back, placed two bars in to help support her neck and spine, and placed numerous screws in her back to ensure everything bonded together well. Thankfully, the paralysis ended after that surgery, however that did not stop the additional medical issues that followed. 

Wanda was diagnosed with having an irregular heartbeat, a condition that often causes her to faint. One time, Wanda fell and hit the concrete floor so hard that she got a deep laceration at the top of her head! This woman of endurance suffers from migraines, hypertension, and a heart condition, but nevertheless, wants to remain as active as possible. Although her children help look after her, she does not want to feel as if she cannot do anything on her own. 

When asked about her Medicare Advantage Plan, “WellCare” Wanda stated that she has problems with providers in Helena accepting this kind of coverage. She needed to go to the local hospital, but they will not accept WellCare there, which has caused a lot of stress and anxiety for her. Providers in Clarksdale, Mississippi that are almost thirty miles away, will accept WellCare, but it is very difficult for her to find someone in her hometown that will accept her insurance. Wanda shared that even while she was in Michigan and Florida, she was seen by providers that accepted WellCare, but for some reason, it is difficult for her to find providers in her home state of Arkansas. Wanda says that she will have to look into changing her Medicare Advantage Plan during the next enrollment, because it is too risky having coverage that is not accepted by providers closest to you. 

Wanda is thankful that her Medicare premiums are paid by Medicaid and many of her co-pays. She is most thankful that she can have some form of a normal life and that no harm came to those kids on the school bus that she was driving back in 2014 when she became partially paralyzed. No pain would be greater than the pain of having lost those young lives due to her sudden paralysis.  Although life has not been easy, Wanda has fought to maintain her health, and plans to continue to do so. She has endured, and is grateful for the life, health, and strength she has.  




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