#GetCovered: How I Got Health Insurance for the First Time in 6 Years

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 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.

About Sean Kitchen 602 Articles
Contributor and Assistant Editor for the Raging Chicken Press. Stationed in Harrisburg covering politics in the capitol. You can send tips to sean@rcpress.org or reach me on twitter at @RCPress_Sean!
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