Story Bank: Rita, Lewiston

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Rita, 40, Auburn

Rita is a mother to twin boys, studies nutrition sciences at Kaplan University full-time, and is an active volunteer in the Auburn community, all while working on her family’s 99-year-old farm.

"We have always been agriculturalists and into growing fresh food, but what really sparked my interest in nutrition science was having that background and a son that has severe allergies," said Rita.

Both of Rita’s sons have faced various medical challenges since they were diagnosed with lead poisoning at one-and-a-half years old.

"They were meeting all the milestones and starting to walk, and then suddenly, they stopped," said Rita.

One of her sons developed sudden physical health challenges, and her other son further regressed developmentally and now has a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder. Thankfully, when Rita was pregnant with the twins, she was eligible to enroll in MaineCare.

"We are really, really fortunate," said Rita. "I don't know what I would have done without MaineCare coverage. I really couldn't afford to have health care on my own, even when I had a full-time job."

When Rita broke four bones in her foot and ankle a few years ago and needed health insurance most, MaineCare provided her with coverage for her surgery and post-operative care.

"If I had not had MaineCare in place, I don't know what I would have done,” said Rita. “I really don't. And if I had any other insurance and had to pay out-of-pocket, or had to access my short-term disability or long-term disability through my workplace, I don't know if I even could have afforded the medical bills.”

Because of MaineCare, Rita can access the health care she and her sons need and she has been able to work, attend school, and volunteer without the worry of an illness or accident setting her back.

"It's really helped me get through this stage in my life where I am trying to improve things for the better," said Rita. "I am really trying to build a life for my children, and I want to be self-sustaining and contribute to my local economy, my neighborhood, and the people around me.  Any way that I can help get that done, I think that's what those things [like MaineCare] are there for."