by Zach Blanchard

When you’re a healthy 33 year old, newly divorced, with a low-paying job, health insurance doesn’t seem like a priority. At least that’s what I thought when I decided not to purchase health insurance. I thought I would save money by not paying $160 a month for insurance.  Little did I know, an unexpected incident of gastroenteritis and a visit to the hospital would cost me $7,000 without it.

Everyone needs health care coverage, including young adults like me. We can’t afford those astronomical bills when we need care. After going to urgent care for gastroenteritis and then St. Anthony’s hospital for appendicitis while I was uninsured, I was faced with a $7,000 medical bill that I couldn’t even begin to fathom affording. I nearly resigned myself to years of debt, but luckily, I was able to set up a repayment program and received financial assistance from the hospital. For many people, such alleviation isn’t readily available, and they face the financial ramifications of their hospital visits long after they leave.

That incident prompted me to get health insurance coverage through Connect for Health Colorado right away. I found an assistance center downtown and sat with a health coverage guide who helped me find a plan that worked best for me. I discovered that I even qualify for financial assistance that helps me save money. Now paying $80 a month is nothing, especially knowing how much the alternative could put me out.  It’s really liberating to not have to worry, even when I get a little sick.

A while back, I came down with a cough. After a doctor’s visit, I found out I had bronchitis. Even the word made me shudder, as I expected a hefty doctor’s bill at my doorstep for the visit, not to mention the cost of my medication. Turns out, my experience was nothing like I had expected. Not only did I see my doctor the same day I called to make the appointment, but also I was prescribed antibiotics that cost me a whopping $5. The experience was nothing but pleasant (except for the bronchitis part obviously), and, while I don’t look forward to doctor’s visits much, I feel more comfortable making appointments when I need them and not shying away because I fear the costs.

Health care means everything to me now, because you only have one life. Without health insurance, you may be put into a financial situation that prohibits you from living the life you’ve earned. There are a lot of things worth worrying about in life – medical debt and being uninsured should not be one of them.

How has health insurance reform impacted your life? You can share your story with us here. If you prefer to speak directly with someone, you can reach Lynn Doan at (303)-839-1261 or at [email protected]

 

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