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Who Can Afford $350 a Week for Health Insurance?

By: Helena P., Lake County

A year ago, all three of my kids qualified for Medicaid. My husband and I qualified for the Medicaid Share of Cost program, but that was the same as not having insurance. Under Share of Cost, we had to pay out of pocket $1,200 each month for him and $1,100 each month for me. So, after paying $2,300 a month in medical expenses, Medicaid would kick in and cover the rest. Who can afford that? We certainly couldn’t.

My husband was recently able to get health insurance through his job. I then lost my Medicaid Share of Cost coverage. I applied for Healthy Kids insurance for our three children and was denied. They put my youngest son back on Medicaid but denied the older two children for Healthy Kids and Medicaid. No one ever explained to me why the two older children were denied coverage.

We looked into adding me and our children to my husband’s health insurance through his job. It costs us $80 a week just to cover my husband. That’s a tight squeeze for a family of five, but we make it work. If we added me to his health insurance plan, the cost would increase by $150--so it would cost $230 a week just for the two of us. The cost for a family of four is $300 each week. Since there are five of us, we would have to pay an additional fee to add our youngest child. We would be looking at over $350 each week, just for health insurance.

Right now, only my husband and youngest child have health insurance coverage. I’m thinking about reapplying for Medicaid for the children. I feel like we are starting over, back at square one. We were told that we make too much money to qualify for help and not enough money to qualify for help. We live paycheck to paycheck. My husband makes $15 an hour. In order to cover all our family bills and living expenses he has to work between 20 and 24 hours of overtime each week.

We don’t have any serious health concerns. I’m not one to run to the doctor for every ache and pain. That’s just how I was raised. The children can get shots through the local health department. I would like to be able to get a yearly physical for myself and my children. My mother was recently diagnosed with cancer. My father died from cancer as did several other family members. My oldest daughter wears glasses and needs regular vision screenings. Health insurance would help with those expenses. We are not able to see a dentist regularly. I had all my teeth removed about 8 years ago, but the plates never fit very well. We’ve looked into the cost of implants, but we’ll will need to start saving for those.


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