By Kalie C., Pinellas County
I am a mother of three and do not have health insurance. When I was pregnant with my two-year-old, I had Medicaid for insurance. The doctors found a growth on my thyroid really late in my pregnancy. I was scheduled to go back so the doctor could take a sample from my thyroid and run lab tests. Then I had the baby and things got busy. After 60 or 90 days, your Medicaid insurance cuts off, so I wasn’t able to go back to the doctor. After having the baby Medicaid put me on family planning services only. I couldn’t get any help for the rest of my health although my kids have Medicaid. Thankfully, they’re healthy and I don’t have any trouble getting them in to see a doctor or dentist.
Since then, I’ve tried to get insurance. I applied for Obamacare, but the cheapest plan was $215 a month. I only make $200 a week, so there’s no way I can cover $215 a month. I’ve been to the hospital a few times because of my thyroid, but there’s nothing they can do. When I go to the ER, they check my white blood cell count. The doctors told me that they can only help me if my cell count gets really low. But if it’s really low that means I’m in imminent danger. Hospitals can’t do anything to help people anymore. I’m afraid that I won’t be able to get help until it’s too late. It’s crazy that they don’t help us, especially those of us with children.
I have also been suffering with extreme dental pain and dental issues. Dental procedures are very expensive. I’ve called around to see if a dentist would see me, but the cost is just too high. Private dentists want to charge $200 to pull one tooth. That is a lot of money for a low-income family. It sucks because when one tooth breaks, it affects the other teeth. It’s a ripple effect if you. So when the pain gets bad, I go to the ER.
Things changed for me when I found out about Community Dental Clinic in Clearwater. I called and actually got in the same day because there was a cancellation. I was shocked and happy at the same time. The staff were so awesome. I got a full exam, two teeth pulled, full X-Rays, and a follow up appointment. When I go back they’re going to fix the rest of my teeth—at no cost! I have to say that’s the best thing I’ve heard of in forever! Thank God there’s a dental clinic, because I needed it. I am so grateful for Community Dental Clinic. Without them I'd be an excruciating pain with nowhere to turn. I'm very blessed that there are people out there to help families. I’m happy that the Salvation Army, Clearwater Free Clinic and Arc of Tampa Bay put this clinic in Clearwater.