It has been six years since I’ve had health insurance, and over 15 years and counting since I’ve been on a private insurance policy, but I am covered once again thanks to the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid Expansion in Pennsylvania.
The last time I was covered under a private insurance plan, my dad was a Teamster working in an Acme Market warehouse riding a forklift or loading and unloading items you’d find in a grocery store. I saw the retirement benefits of life insurance but I lost that insurance when my dad – who worked for Acme Markets for 23 1/2 years – lost was laid off because Acme wanted to utilize cheaper labor in Lancaster, Co. From that point to the time I turned 20, I grew up on CHIP and Pennsylvania’s Keystone Mercy plan, after that I was uninsured.
After the passage of the ACA, I had the option of joining my parent’s health care plans but to cover my sister and I it would literally have eaten up a monthly paycheck. I tried to get health coverage through the federal market place, but because of the lack of subsidies and medicaid expansion, I was facing a $175 – $225 monthly payment for a bronze or silver health care package. So, I decided to put the coverage off because I am young, healthy and could not afford the coverage. I marked that down on my income taxes to avoid the penalties for not having coverage.
This past year, I took a financial risk by moving to Harrisburg to get my foot in the proverbial door that could lead to a career in media. It’s not everyday you get the chance live in a capitol city and cover one of the most corrupted governments in the country that is in the throes of one it’s most politically toxic times. Things have been a little rocky, but in the past couple of months I’ve been getting settled in. In November, I applied for health benefits through the state, and because of the Governor’s expansion of the medicaid program, I once again have health care and a sense of security.