by Aubrey Hasvold
I recently broke my femur. I was taking a slow, easy jog around City Park when it happened. No, I was not hit by an oncoming car – a question I have been asked innumerable times in the last few months because my injury was so bizarre and unlikely. It just snapped. I heard a crack and saw my leg decrease in length by what seemed like three or four inches, and buckle into the shape of a boomerang. I sustained an oblique femur fracture that required surgery. A rod was inserted into the middle of my bone from my hip to my knee. I am still working to figure out why this freak accident occurred. With no certain end in sight, I continue to visit specialists for scans and blood tests.
At 22 years old and in excellent health, I had expected that my body would remain in working condition, gosh darn it! I was kind to my body – I ate well, exercised often, didn’t smoke, and always made sure to go to my annual checkups. I had hoped it was that simple. All my life, I carried the conception that I could do just about anything with this body of mine – an idea that shattered instantaneously as I watched my feet hit the pavement.
Although I have never been in the position of having to make the decision of whether or not to forgo purchasing health insurance because of financial constraints, I was certainly guilty of having an, “it won’t happen to me,” attitude before my injury. However, I cannot stress enough the importance of having health insurance. The Affordable Care Act has allowed me to remain covered under my father’s insurance plan, which he gets through his employer. The total cost of my treatment was over $75,000; I paid $60.
My accident happened during my first year out of college and I’m working out the kinks of being financially independent for the first time. If I had not been covered, I would have experienced a financial ruin that would have devastated my credit and my quality of life. Sadly, this is a familiar narrative for the 400,565 Coloradans who were unable to pay for basic needs like food, rent, or heat in, or the 104,001 who declared bankruptcy in 2013 because of high medical costs.
My experience was both disillusioning and enlightening. Being young and healthy no longer means being indestructible. Remaining uninsured is short sighted and irresponsible. Young invincibles – people around my age – cannot afford to maintain the “it won’t happen to me” mentality that I, too, had. To be uninsured is to gamble on your livelihood. I challenge all young people who are currently uninsured to explore your options for getting covered (and avoid the increasingly hefty fees that uninsured folks will be charged). The consequences of being uninsured can be catastrophic for an individual or family.
On a larger scale, obtaining health insurance through the ACA is critical because it keeps our communities physically and fiscally healthy. Each one of us garners a certain debt to our society from the simple act of existing within it. We owe it to our fellow Coloradans to get covered simply because we are all a part of the whole.
Open enrollment starts November 15th and ends February 15th. Don’t wait for the rush to get enrolled. Shop for your plan now! Visit connectforhealthco.com to find free in-person assistance is available in your area and financial assistance.