Member Moments: Jan's Story

Living with a disability can be challenging, but it doesn't have to be limiting. Molina member Jan Dreesman is a living example of this. Born with spinal bifida, a condition that affects the spinal cord, Jan’s parents were the first to believe in her and advocate for her care from the moment she was born.

“The nuns kept saying, ‘Let’s give her last rites.’ And they said, ‘She’s not dying.’ And they took me home five days later,” said Jan. 

Growing up, her parents taught her the importance of having her independence. Jan's parents knew that she would have to take care of herself when she grew up, and they made sure she learned the skills she needed to be independent. She went on to get her education degree at the University of Northern Iowa and became a reading teacher. Today, Jan is a role model for young students, showing them that they, too, can live independently and have a job to provide for themselves.

“I provide a model for students, young students that say to me, ‘You don't have to live with your parents? You don't have to live with somebody?’ No, I live by myself. And you can, too, and you can have a job and provide for yourself,” said Jan.

To continue to maintain her independence, Jan says that she needs to have her health care needs met through various services. When she made the switch to Molina, a managed care organization (MCO), she was introduced to her case manager, Kinzey Nicklaus.

“She already had some services when I came in. So, I just worked towards getting services that would help maintain her care and improve her quality of life,” said Kinzey.

Kinzey says she is privileged to work alongside Jan and wants to be sure she is heard and seen. Jan says she noticed a difference right away. 

“She (Kinzey) tells me all the time that she's able to go back to her supervisors. They work as a support team to try to figure out answers,” said Jan. 

Jan also got involved by attending Molina’s Stakeholder Advisory Board. It’s a quarterly meeting that listens to input from members, providers and 
community members to better improve the services and benefits Molina offers.

“I began to feel appreciated. I began to feel valued. I have never felt that way with the other MCOs before,” said Jan.

Jan's story is a testament to the power of determination, education and community support. Her ability to live independently has been a source of inspiration for many, and her experience with Molina Healthcare of Iowa shows that with the right support and care, people with disabilities can lead fulfilling lives.