By: E.B., Pinellas County
I’m currently 52 years old and have insurance I can’t afford to use. Four years ago, I got divorced and lost my health insurance as a result. I spent some time living with friends while trying to get back on my feet. During that time, I applied for health insurance through the Marketplace, but my income was not high enough for me to qualify for the subsidy. I was able to get the exemption and went to my local clinic to try and get my annual well-woman check-ups. However, they would not see me unless I wanted family planning services. I don’t need those services.
I have a history of precancerous cells and get nervous about the cancer returning. I was trying to be preventative, but they told me I was not eligible for any services. So, to make sure my body was healthy I signed up for medical and research trials. Last year I participated in a study and was able to get an annual exam, EKG, full physical, mammogram, and I was paid. I’m not eligible for Medicaid because I do not have any dependent children.
I’m a very healthy person. I don’t need a lot of healthcare services. Right now I’m working a few part time jobs. I find that most employers avoid hiring full time employees so they don’t have to pay benefits. About six months ago I was able to get health insurance through the Marketplace. Initially my premium was $12 a month and my co-pays were between $10 and $15. Then in January, I talked with an insurance agent who quoted me a plan with a $0 premium. I told him that I’d think about it and got on the website to do my own research. The next day I called the Marketplace to enroll myself in a plan and they told me I had already been signed up the previous day. The insurance agent signed me up for a plan without my permission.
To add insult to injury, the plan he signed me up for is horrible. The deductible is $6,400 a year! For me, that’s the same as not having health insurance. If I need something to be done, I’m shit out of luck. This is useless insurance. I tried to talk with the Marketplace representatives and explain what happened, but they said that I had to have a life changing event in order to change my plan or wait for next year’s Open Enrollment. There should be some sort of rescission period for situations like mine.
I would like to see a dentist, but right now I can’t afford another bill. They offer the dental coverage through the Marketplace, but they want too much on a monthly basis. I get lots of phone calls from dental insurance companies, but the cost is too high. I can get a cleaning in my local community for $30, which is what the dental insurance companies are asking for a monthly premium. I need a molar replaced, but that will cost me much more.