By: Fred C., Miami-Dade County
My name is Fred Christian and I am currently uninsured. I have been living without health insurance coverage for over thirty-five years. I lost my insurance when I was a teenager and had my first asthma attack. My parents had private insurance and the insurance companies refused to cover my pre-existing condition. Since the Affordable Care Act started, I have been a full-time caregiver for my father and I am not able to work. Because of this, I am not able to apply for subsidies to help cover the cost of my health insurance.
I still suffer from asthma and have to pay out of pocket for my medication. My inhaler costs $70.00 and has to be replaced every two months. I recently developed high blood pressure which requires medication. There is a discount program at my local pharmacy that makes the medication affordable for me. I haven’t had dental care since I was a teenager because the cost is just too high.
I’m 49 years old and have to rely on my friends, family, and charity programs through local hospitals to cover my medical expenses. I have been fortunate enough to find a primary care doctor who set up a payment plan of $100 per year and $40 per office visit. My doctor is a really good person who is very caring. In the past I had to use programs in the community to help me pay my medical bills. Miami-Dade’s J2 program is a good resource that helped me get medical help. I have also used the Emergency Room and local hospitals. The hospitals were able write-off my bill so that I didn’t have to worry about the cost. I have had to pay for ambulance bills out of my pocket.
These days I am always worried about medical bills. I wonder what will happen if I get sick—am I going to die? Living without insurance is stressful and has had a horrible impact on my life.
My experiences as an uninsured Floridian has made me a fierce advocate for healthcare, poverty, civil rights, and disability rights. I believe that Medicaid should be expanded in Florida. I am the founder of #Impact, an advocacy organization that fights for people’s rights.