By Myra S., Orange County
In October 2019 I lost my job at Universal Studios where I’d worked for 20 years. When I lost my job, I also lost my health insurance, which was my lifeline.
I have Type 1 Diabetes. Without health insurance I have to pay out of pocket to see my endocrinologist to treat my diabetes. At first, the endocrinologist gave me samples of my regular insulin because she knew that I’d lost my insurance. When the pandemic hit, most shipments stopped, so there were no samples to give me. I paid $150 just to have the doctor check me out and approved the $25 over the counter insulin from Walmart as my replacement. She said that, for now, it would be the best way to get my insulin. The Walmart insulin doesn’t last as long, but it does keep my sugar steady. Before I started using it, my blood sugar levels were beyond high, like in the 200’s and 300’s. My levels have lowered and steadied since I started taking the Walmart insulin. It doesn’t last as long as my regular, brand-name insulin. The brand-name is more expensive, of course, but it lasts for 24 hours. The $25 vile is temporary, so I have to watch myself a little closer.
In March I got a part time job as a hostess at Red Lobster. I was hoping to start part time and make my way to full time so that I could get health insurance. I started training on Thursday, March 12 and was laid off just three days later. COVID-19 struck and everything was shutting down. All the part time staff were laid off. Red Lobster closed for a week or so, but then reopened for takeout orders. When I lost that job, it was another setback for me. I started looking and putting in applications when the city opened up a few weeks ago. It’s much harder now looking for a job now because some restaurants are still closed. The ones that are open are only hiring part time positions. Part timers don’t qualify for company health insurance.
Back in 2013 I had surgery. During my surgery, I got a blood clot. I had to see a blood doctor pretty frequently after that. Since I’ve been without insurance, I’ve not seen the doctor and I worry about the blood clots coming back. It’s really been a struggle not having insurance.
I’ve been researching different types of insurances. In January I put in an application to the Healthcare Marketplace. They requested loads of paperwork and required me to prove my identity. I submitted the paperwork twice, but they continued asking for other documentation. Instead of getting frustrated I just keep sending them paperwork, even if I’ve already turned it in. It was one thing after the other, until finally they sent me a denial letter. I appealed their decision and I’ve been waiting for two months now. I’m not sure who else to turn to for help.