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Texas Parents Consider Divorce to Afford Child's Health Care

Fortune logo Fortune 7/12/2018 Renae Reints
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A Texas couple is considering divorce so they can afford the health care bills for their 6-year-old child, WFAA reports.

Maria and Jake Grey have been married for nine years, but have recently come to the conclusion that—at least on paper—a divorce could be better for their family. Brighton, the oldest of their two daughters, suffers from Wolf-Hirschhorn Syndrome, a rare chromosomal disorder that causes hearing and vision impairments, seizures, heart and kidney problems, and more. She requires around-the-clock care—and a lot of health care coverage.

They report spending up to $15,000 per year out of pocket on Brighton’s health care needs, even with health insurance. That’s 30% of their income. “I used to get anxiety just opening the mail,” said Maria on WFAA, saying she always worried about what medical bills would come.

Jake, an Army veteran, makes $40,000 annually, so the family doesn’t qualify for Medicaid. If they were to divorce, Maria would appear as a single, jobless mother of two on paper, qualifying for state assistance.

“We promised to each other and to her that we’d do whatever we could do to make her life, however long she’s going to be with us, as good as possible,” Maria told WFAA. “It would be divorce. It would be to not be together to get our child what we need.”

The family has applied for state assistance, but there are tens of thousands of people on the waiting list, some waiting up to 14 years. The Greys report they’re number 59,979 on one list.

“We’ve just struggled and struggled with it, and now we’ve gotten to the point, where we feel it’s a real possibility,” Jake told WFAA. He says what’s happening to his family is “morally wrong,” but they will do whatever they can to help Brighton, who they say is a blessing.

“For someone to kind of make you choose between your marriage and your child is just—it’s just a really weird spot to be in,” Jake said.

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