By S.V., Alachua County
About two years ago, right before the COVID-19 pandemic, I moved to Florida from California. Around the time I arrived, I was starting a specific kind of therapy and was in need of health care. I was also having skin issues so I needed care for general health reasons as well. I couldn’t afford insurance in Florida and it was especially difficult to find work here at the time because of the pandemic– I’m actually still looking for work. I think the pandemic’s impact on employment has affected a lot of people in their ability to get health care, especially people who have moved to different states and are trying to get situated. At least that has been the case for me.
From what I’ve gathered so far since moving here, Florida and California seem to have very different health care systems. I believe that health care in Florida is more expensive, so there’s a lot of difficulty around affording it. I don’t know if Florida’s Medicaid and Medicare programs are similar to the ones in California. However, my understanding is that California’s programs make it easier for people to sign up for health care and receive those services without having to pay a ton of money. Being uninsured has made it difficult for me to be fully comfortable in Florida.
For about a year to a year and a half, I’ve been going to the Equal Access Clinic for my health care. A free clinic like this one has been especially useful for me because I’m still in the process of transferring over my residency to Florida. Thankfully, I haven’t needed to go to the Emergency Room for any reason since moving here. I don’t even know what I would do if I ever needed to go to an E.R. since I’m uninsured.
Not having health insurance affects accessibility in the range of health care I could receive. For every health care-related need I have to take care of, I need to either go to the Equal Access Clinic or find another type of public health program where the services might be offered for free. The Equal Access Clinic is basically where all of my resources are at the moment and I’ve had to depend on it a lot.
I think having health insurance helps people have quicker access to care. I also believe having access to health care would make the process of establishing my residency in Florida a smoother one. Finally, if I had health coverage, I would be able to engage in more general needs care and take care of myself if an emergency were to happen.