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I’m Insured, but a Free Local Clinic is My Only Reasonable Option for Health Care

Alex N., Alachua County

I’m 22 years old and I’m studying law at the University of Florida. I’m still covered by my mom’s employer-based insurance plan through Aetna. However, since being in Gainesville, it has been hard to find providers who are in-network. For example, I had to go to a podiatrist recently and there were only two podiatrists in the entire 45 mile radius that were open and would take my insurance. I initially thought there were three, but one of them didn’t even have a working phone number, so the office was clearly closed down. I ended up having to wait weeks for an appointment that I needed to happen quickly, so it was pretty frustrating.


There are some things that I should probably see a doctor for, but I haven’t been able to do so because of issues with our insurance plan. When I do use the insurance, a lot of the time I have to pay out of pocket and it ends up being super expensive because of our high deductible. My mom’s employer actually switched us to our current insurance from a different plan about a year ago, and it’s been a hot mess since the switch. Even my mom has noticed it. She lives in Bradenton and some offices she had been going to for years no longer take our insurance. There’s basically no point in having this insurance.


I recall noticing certain issues with our health care system earlier in my life. I broke my hand when I was in high school, and I remember it cost my parents $8000 for my X-rays. We had insurance, yet they still had to pay $8000 out of pocket just for X-rays. In other countries, X-rays are like $120, so there is no need for this.


In addition to being a law student, I also work around 32 hours a week. This makes it difficult to find the time to go to a doctor during the day when they’re open. A friend told me about the Equal Access Clinic, which has been more accessible for me because it provides services in the evenings. I have class practically all day, every day of the week; I also work on weekends, as well as on some nights during the week. There’s basically no time for me to find a doctor, so I don’t know what doctor I would go to if I didn’t have the Equal Access Clinic.

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