One doctor has told the parents of one of his patients that they should get a divorce. And that’s not because of any marital strife. Instead, he thinks that the couple should divorce in order to pay their child’s medical bills.
A doctor from Knoxville, Tennessee, told the Tindall family that a divorce would help them with their high medical bills. These are the same bills they are forced to pay each month in order for their son to remain healthy. Mom Angela Tindall told Local 8 News that for almost 10 years she and her husband, Randall Tindall, tried to get pregnant.
When they finally did, they were overjoyed with the news. However, she says that having a baby at 42-years-old put her at high risk. The couple’s son Jackson stayed in the NICU for the first part of his life because of complications from his birth.
And while Angela says that their son has come a long way, doctors still deem him to be "medically fragile." Jackson is now in kindergarten, but he still requires a lot of care with medical costs that run up to thousands of dollars each month. He needs speech therapy, occupational therapy, and is still being fed on a feeding tube. His formula costs the Tindall family $1,700 a month alone.
Father Randall Tindall said, “You know that your child needs this therapy, or he may need a procedure, but you also know that there is no physical way that you can come up with that kind of money.”
Randall says that while he has a good job that helps him support his family, his insurance plan doesn’t cover all of his son’s needs. Many of Jackson’s therapists and doctors are often shocked that the couple doesn't qualify for TennCare because of his diagnosis and Randall’s salary.
"We make too much money, and our household income is too high," Randy said.
Currently, state lawmakers are hoping to pass a bill that would help children like Jackson get the affordable care they need. The bill would help families in need, regardless of their employment status or their monthly income.
"We don't want to lose the children to an institution because the parents can't afford to keep them at home," State Sen. Kerry Roberts said. "We don't want to see parents get divorced, because that's the only way they can qualify for TennCare to get these services for their child."
Even though a lot of families can afford health insurance, many costs aren’t covered in certain plans, which makes it difficult for parents to meet ends each month.