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Living Paycheck to Paycheck Without Health Insurance

By: Carie S., Duval County

I am currently employed full time and do not have health insurance. I had Medicaid for insurance for a long time, but when I started working, my Medicaid was taken away. It doesn’t matter that my employer does not offer health insurance. It doesn’t matter that I make $11.00 an hour and can not afford private insurance. I’m raising two children living pay check to pay check.

I had a very emotionally damaging childhood which has had long lasting impacts on my health. I’ve been in therapy and on medication to treat my bi-polar Type 1 disorder since I was 7 years old. I also have rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia. I’ve learned to deal with the physical pain; it’s the mental health that’s the most difficult to live with and manage. I’m currently living without any of my medications and it makes life very difficult for me and my children. My day to day life is very complicated and emotionally painful. Medications help me deal with normal life situations. Sometimes I’m able to see my psychiatrist who lets me pay on a sliding scale. When I have extra money, I can also pay for my medications out of pocket. They are expensive, so I must pick and choose which ones I can afford. I’ve applied for Social Security Disability three times and was denied each time. So, I push myself and my body to work so that I can provide for my family.

My family is a huge support system for me. I have relatives that live close by and check on me regularly. I feel like I’m falling deeper in to this hole. But, the more I try to get out of that hole, the more dirt falls on me. I want people to understand that I’m not looking for a handout. I like working. Work is one of the few things that keeps me out of the negative space in my head. I just need health insurance so that I can see a doctor and get medications that will help me keep growing instead of falling in the hole. But I feel like nobody cares anymore who falls through the cracks. All anybody cares about is the bottom line. Nobody wants to face the truth of mental health illness. It’s such an epidemic right now.

Luckily my children are covered by Medicaid. They can see doctors when needed and have a regular primary care doctor. My children are my motivation to keep moving forward.


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