48 Million Americans do not have health insurance, and I am one of them. It wasn’t always that way. Growing up I didn’t know about health insurance, but I enjoyed it. I had a pediatrician that I knew well. Anytime I was sick and needed care I got it. Which was good because I would get strep throat almost twice a year, like clock work. That actually made me a better singer because I taught myself to flatten my tongue on my own so I could avoid tongue depressors outright. I hated them because they made me gag. A flat tongue eliminated their need, and allowed for a larger chamber in which for me to create sound. Seeing a new doctor continuously I would have had to struggle to convince them not to use a depressor, but because my doctor knew me well, it wasn’t an issue. He trusted me. And I trusted him.
Even when I was off at college I didn’t worry about insurance. I knew enough about it by them that I had my own card and the necessary information to properly fill out any medical intake forms. I didn’t think about coverage, because everything just always was covered. After college I learned a bit about eligibility because I had to sign up for additional courses at a community college to remain eligible on my parents’ policy. Then I got married and the real education began. The short story is in my early adult life for me insurance was all about weeks. How many weeks of work did I have and where could I go to get whatever extra I needed to qualify for my next round of union insurance. You see I was a member of three performing unions, (SAG, AFTRA and AEA), and I had access to healthcare through each of them, as long as I met a certain quota of work every four quarters. And I did. I made sure of it. Until I couldn’t. I lost my insurance when I lost my television job. And I couldn’t do the work necessary to get it back because I was still on air for my former employer, yet no longer receiving any salary, but while I was I couldn’t seek work from any other network let alone work for one. So my quarters of earnings were disrupted and my insurance was stopped. That was four years ago.
My kids are fine thanks to All Kids program in Illinois. For a brief time I even qualified for Medicaid and thus enjoyed some restrictive insurance. But it was nowhere near the quality of care that I had grown up with and it didn’t last long. As a self-employed entrepreneur, I have been running on a wing and a prayer for about two years straight, and I can’t lie to you, it has been really hard. My illnesses last longer because I wait longer to seek care, and I can’t always afford the prescriptions suggested so my follow through is limited. As I get older I am more frightened by the unknown. There are things that I know I should be screening for, especially since being adopted I don’t have a lot of family history to look to for a projection of potential issues, thus everything is on the table. I dream of what it would be like to have health insurance, not just for me, but so my kids won’t worry about me. Life would be different with health insurance. Life would be infinitely better.
With the opening of the insurance marketplace in conjunction with the Affordable Care Act I am hoping I can make my dream a reality and once again feel safe and empowered in my own body, because I will have the access to doctors and specialist to help me keep it running strong. That’s why I am logging onto Healthcare.Gov, so I can get to my bucket list of the 10 things I would do with health insurance sooner rather than later. Or worse yet, sooner rather than too late.
What would you do with health insurance?
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