Family says doctor suggested divorce to pay son’s medical bills

The Tindells are advocating for a proposed law that would help families like them get more help from the state. (Photo: WVLT-TV)
The Tindells are advocating for a proposed law that would help families like them get more help from the state. (Photo: WVLT-TV)

A Tennessee couple struggling to pay their son’s medical bills got some unexpected advice from a doctor who suggested they get divorced to help cover expenses. The Tindells’ son, Jackson, needs speech, occupational and feeding therapy, along with a feeding tube, and they’ve been buried in the expenses.

“He’s come a long way,” Angela Tindell told Knoxville, Tenn., news station WVLT-TV. “There was a time they deemed him medically fragile, which meant, ‘We’re not guaranteeing that this babe will survive.’ He’s always been a fighter.”

The family currently doesn’t qualify for the state’s Medicaid program, TennCare. The couple isn’t getting divorced, but if they did, Angela could qualify for the program on her own and get assistance from the state to pay for Jackson’s care. The formula for his feeding tube alone costs $1,700 a month, according to WVLT-TV.

To be eligible for the state’s Medicaid program, a family with one child between the ages of 1 and 6 must make less than $18,000 a year. Randy Tindell told WVLT-TV that he makes too much money for their family to qualify. But even with health insurance, their monthly medical bills are still unmanageable.

“There’s always that fear that you’re not going to get it, you’re not going to be able to get what your child needs,” Angela told the broadcast station. “Yet you get up every day, and you try your hardest, and you work your hardest.”

The Tennessee legislature is currently considering a bill aimed at expanding the Medicaid program to cover more children with disabilities regardless of their parents’ income.

“This opens the door basically to address the need of a family where they could have their child institutionalized, but they prefer to keep their child at home, they just can’t afford it, and this provides the opportunity for them to do that,” State Senator Kerry Roberts, a sponsor of the bill, told Fox 17 Nashville.

The bill still needs to be brought for a vote in the state House and Senate, but the Tindells want to see it become law.

“We want these therapies and these things for our son now so that when he does turn 18, he can live a full life and be a productive member of society,” Angela told WVLT-TV.

Read more from Yahoo Lifestyle:

Follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter for nonstop inspiration delivered fresh to your feed, every day.

Want daily pop culture news delivered to your inbox?