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Facing limited health care options, I have to pick and choose what issues I deal with.

Dominique A., Alachua County

I moved to Florida in October of 2017. I’m originally from Maryland, but my family life wasn’t great so I needed to be somewhere else. I have been uninsured since moving to Florida so I’ve been exploring what services I can get for free or at a sliding scale around Gainesville. So far, the Equal Access Clinic is the only resource I’ve found that offers this.

I started going to the Equal Access Clinic in April of 2021. I’m transgender and have been receiving gender therapy there, along with mental health therapy and primary care services. I’ve been getting testosterone injections for about six months, and I pay out of pocket for the treatment I’m receiving. I have anxiety and depression and I’m paying out of pocket for the mental health medications I’m taking as well.

Although I’ve been trying to work full-time, I’m currently working part-time so I can’t get insurance through my employer. Around October of 2020, I experienced a health scare because I came down with a stomach virus. I couldn’t even walk, and since I don’t have a vehicle or any mode of transportation, I had to call my aunt to take me to an urgent care center. This was during the height of the pandemic here in Florida and while I couldn’t even stand, I had to wait outside for a while before being seen. I ended up needing special medication and had to pay a lot of money for this. I had a part-time job at the time and was kind of just scraping by. It took me a couple of months to work to save the money to pay off the expensive bill, but I ended up being able to do it. It just zeroed me out for a while after that.

I’m glad I don’t have any children or dependents to take care of other than myself right now. I’m barely able to do that for myself so I feel for people in similar situations who have more to take care of. Although I lived with my aunt for a year and a half when I first moved to Florida, right now I’m renting a room at one of those places where you share utilities and living space. It’s working out pretty well for me, but after paying my rent, everything is nose to nose in terms of payments.

Not having health insurance means that if something happens to me– whether I get a cold or experience some sort of emergency– I can’t really go anywhere. I have to find a way to deal with it myself with things like over-the-counter medications or just pay up, which leaves a dent in my wallet. If I had Medicaid or some form of stable insurance coverage, I would be able to take care of stuff that I haven’t been able to take care of without insurance. I would probably speak to a specialized therapist if I could as well. Although I’ve partially delayed my medical transition because I haven’t gotten top surgery yet, I don’t think an insurance plan would cover the procedure because it’s considered “cosmetic.” I only have so much money right now, so I’ll just have to continue picking and choosing what I deal with.


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