Couple Separate to Keep Health Insurance

Tennessee CoupleMARYVILLE, Tenn. (CNN) — Linda Drain said the day she said “I do” was the best day of her life.

“I believe that my marriage is about commitment and love and support,” Linda said.

Her husband Larry said he planned on being with Linda forever. He promised to be by her side through sickness, health, and her constant battle with epilepsy.

“We have been at points and times where a good day was 10-15 grand mal seizures. I’ve seen her go through brain surgery. We’ve been through a lot,” Larry said.

The Social Security Administration doesn’t allow a couple to make more than $1,102 when the income is not from wages. When Larry Drain decided to enter retirement, his check was less than his old paycheck, but it was still too much.

“Shortly after I took the retirement, Social Security called us in and told us we made too much money, that they had a limit on unearned income. I tried to tell them ‘How could my retirement be unearned income?’ They said, ‘Well it is, legally it is,'” Larry Drain said.

Larry says his wife would have lost her SSI, and if she continued to live with him she would lose her TennCare coverage also.

“On December the 26th, after 33 years of marriage, we separated,” Larry Drain said.

The Drains said they make too little to qualify for the Affordable Care Act. Both of them would have qualified for TennCare while still living together if Tennessee had expanded its Medicaid program.

“In order to keep my wife alive, I can’t live with her. Unless Governor Haslam chooses to expand Medicaid, I’ll never be able to live with her,” Larry Drain said.

The Drains live about two miles apart, and Larry is working a part-time job just to make ends meet.

Governor Haslam’s office released this statement about the situation:

“Governor Haslam believes that more people having access to health care is a good thing, but you have to do in a way that controls costs and provides for better outcomes. The governor and administration continue to have discussions with HHS and CMS about the Tennessee Plan, the governor’s approach for a third path to real health care reform for Tennessee.”

Source: WBIR


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  1. Arcanobacter hemolyticum says:

    Just goes to show you that no matter what good can come from the ACA, some MORON TURD OF A GOVERNOR can mess it up. From the bottom of my heart as a health care professional for over 35 years, if this governor fell down from a heart attack in front of me I’d make damn sure I didn’t hurt myself laughing at him as he turns blue. HIS MOTHER SHOULD BE HORSEWHIPPED FOR RAISING SUCH EXCREMENT !

  2. ono says:

    I am pretty sure you can get more Social Security as a couple than this article says. There is something wrong with this explanation. Many couples get more that limit. This is misleading. I guess they aren’t old enough for Medicare. There is something weird here besides the state govt.

  3. Chris says:

    They are both too young for medicare full benefits, she is 59 and he is 62.

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