One of New York’s 2.7 Million Uninsured Asks: Will I Finally Be Able to Afford Health Insurance?

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

This is the first piece published in the Echoing Ida health care series launched this week.

Echoing Ida is a Strong Families project that uplifts the voices of Black women in the reproductive and social justice movements. Our writers have been published in online media outlets as part of our campaign to provide historical, critical, and candid perspectives on health care just as the Affordable Care Act is rolling out.

The first article is published at RH Reality Check, written by Taja Lindley, an Echoing Ida member talking about her own experience as an uninsured person exploring the possibilities offered to her by the ACA.
I am one of nearly 2.7 million New Yorkers (approximately 16 percent of the state’s population) under age 65 who does not have health insurance coverage. Since January 2012, I’ve relied on healthy eating habits, home remedies, rest, and prayer: “Lord, please don’t let me get hit by a car when I ride my bike today. Allow for safe travels. Amen.”

I come from a family full of Black women who work as nurses and in other health-care professions, so visiting the doctor has been a habit and priority my entire life. That is, until it no longer fit into my budget. After paying for rent, ever-increasing public transportation in New York City, student loans, food, and utilities, not to mention my debt payments and household needs, there is barely enough left over to save, let alone pay for health insurance out-of-pocket.

For the past couple of years, the combination of unemployment insurance benefits, part-time jobs, and side gigs has made me ineligible for Medicaid and other state funded health-care programs. And during the moments when I relied on unemployment insurance alone, my income was still too high for me to qualify for subsidized health care. When the Affordable Care Act changed the rules so that young adults could be covered through their parent’s health insurance, I was employed at a full-time job with health benefits. My job ended soon after I turned 27, a year too old to qualify.
Read Taja's full article here

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Read more about the series here, and check back for additional articles from the series.  

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