At the age of 18 during your freshman year of college, one of the last things you're probably worried about is health care coverage. For most people, you're covered under your parents' health insurance until the age of 26. Most people don't think about these kinds of things, but unfortunately, I have no choice.
I lost health insurance when my father, whom I haven't seen in six years, quit his job to avoid paying child support for my siblings. The only benefit I got from this man was health coverage. This was something provided by his job and not even an additional cost to him. Since he is no longer covered, neither am I or my brother or sister. My mom does not have health insurance and is also no longer covered by my father's since their divorce.
Basically, my mom and I have been playing a waiting game with the state of Illinois to get covered. The state claimed they needed proof that my brother was U.S. citizen. My brother was born in North Carolina. Clearly, he is a citizen. In fact, he has never even left the country. I have lived in Illinois with my family about 16 of the almost 19 years of my life. The state also needed pay stubs from my job even though I already get federal aid for schooling and clearly do not have the means to afford decent health insurance on my own.
I looked at different quotes for bare minimum health coverage. This health insurance cost two hundred plus dollars a month with barely any benefits. Paying for this amount of coverage is honestly almost useless and higher coverage would be too expensive to afford. So I wait to hear from the state. And it has been months.
In the meantime, I cannot get my prescriptions for a few reasons. One is that I need a doctor to sign off on a prescription renewal. I cannot afford the cost of a doctor's visit without insurance. Usually, you have a relatively small copay, but without insurance, you would have to pay for the whole visit out of pocket, an average of $200, just for a basic visit to a general practitioner. The costs only go up if you need to see a different kind of doctor. Also, the costs of the prescriptions themselves without insurance would be another $200 plus.
So I have been off of prescriptions that greatly help my ability to function for months. I cannot afford to get my medications without insurance and the government moves at a snail's pace. Child support regulation states that proven intent to avoid payments means that said parent will be held responsible for the amount of all missed payments or be held in contempt and arrested. My father has had no repercussions for his actions whatsoever. In fact, he is getting away with a crime.
My siblings have no parental income supporting them. The loss of health insurance should be the responsibility of my father. He was expected, by the terms of the divorce, to provide insurance and child support. My family receives neither. Yet, he receives no punishment for his actions and my mom struggles to pick up the pieces. All we can do is wait for health insurance to hopefully come through. Meanwhile, the government does nothing about our situation.
Change needs to come, not only for myself but any family that may struggle in the same ways.