By: Elizabeth B., Pinellas County
I was diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome when I was 15 years old. At 17 I was in a car accident that messed up my shoulders and neck. Two months later I turned 18 and was hit in the head with a basketball causing a concussion that left me with chronic headaches and migraines. Once I aged out of Florida KidCare, I was left to fend for myself with my health care. Unfortunately, my parents did not have insurance either. My Dad was self-employed, and my Mom worked two part time jobs which didn’t offer health care. So, I wasn't able to be on any policy with them.
All the preexisting conditions I had in my childhood have made it extremely stressful for me to work full time because my conditions get worse when under high stress. While attending college I was not able to qualify for government health insurance. Working and going to school was very stressful. The two and a half years I actually did work full time, my polycystic ovarian syndrome got much worse. I was able to get health insurance through my job, but my mental health got so bad I actually thought about committing suicide every day during the second year I was at my job. I ended up seeing a therapist, and she even recommended that I quit my job because it was so bad. I quit and tried to get unemployment due to my mental and physical health conditions. I didn't qualify for unemployment even with my psychiatrist writing a letter saying how badly I was doing at my job. I then lost the only good health insurance I had and was now, once again, left to fend for myself trying to deal with these health conditions.
I am 37 years old now and still cannot qualify for health insurance because I'm single, don't have a child, and can't get disability because I haven't been able to see the right doctors that I need to see. Living with these health conditions has been difficult, but not being able to see a doctor has made it much worse. I see how difficult it has been to expand Medicaid in Florida. If we expanded, I would qualify for health care which would be like an actual lifeline for me, literally. With Medicaid I could see the doctors I desperately need to see but cannot afford to see as a self-pay patient.