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Working Without Health Insurance in Florida

Michelle D. is 45 years old, resides in Alachua County and currently works at a job that does not provide health care coverage. She has a history of abnormal pap smears and mammograms, in addition to two different skin cancers. In the past, she worked for an employer that provided health insurance and with annual check-ups, she was able to stay on top of her health care issues. Now, she is fearful that some of the symptoms she’s experiencing could be something more serious. The stress of not having health insurance for the past three years, not having access to the care she needs and now relying on a healthcare clinic is causing her a great deal of distress.

Like nearly 500,000 other Floridians, Michelle falls into the Coverage Gap because she earns too much to qualify for Medicaid, yet not enough to pay for health insurance. For 10 years, Florida’s state legislators have had the opportunity to expand Medicaid to cover Floridians earning below the poverty level while saving the state $200 million a year. It’s time to give these hardworking Floridians the security of health coverage.

“When I had my employer-based health insurance coverage, I had regular checkups and felt that I was really able to stay on top of my most concerning health care issues. I would love to say to our legislators and other elected officials who have taxpayer paid healthcare, why don’t you see the need for the rest of us to receive the same care?”

Read more of Michelle’s Story…

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Okay, my name is Michelle, I'm 44 and I will 45 in a couple days on the 25th. I currently work at a bamboo farm out here in Hawthorne, Florida. We divide and ship out bamboo for orders. I currently live with a significant other. Our kids are over 18 at this point, so we don't have any kids that live with us. It's just the two of us here.

For 20 years I was employed at a healthcare corporation. And at the end of 2019, I lost my job and my health care insurance. I couldn’t pay for COBRA coverage because it was like $800 a month. I didn’t have it at that time. This was also right after COVID hit and there wasn't a lot of opportunity to get another job like that. Many places were going to work at home, and I live out in the country and have satellite internet. So, a lot of that stuff was not an option for me either. For a while I actually did like Instacart and shipped which is independent contractor work. They don't have any health care coverage that they actually offer either. Then I just gone to work at this bamboo farm that's out here by me. It's a nice place to work. My boss's very lovely lady. But she doesn't have enough employees to offer an option for healthcare coverage for us.

What has it been like navigating your daily life without health insurance? Are you currently experiencing, or have you previously experienced, any health issues?

What are some choices you have had to make in your life due to not having health insurance? Have you ever had to go to the Emergency Room?

Have you had coverage in the past either through Medicaid or insurance through the Marketplace, or from a job?

What areas of your life have been impacted as a result of not having health insurance?

How did you find out about the Equal Access clinic?

Knowing that expansion would be helpful for people with known conditions, tell me your thoughts on how Medicaid expansion would be helpful for you?

If you could say anything to our elected officials or legislators, those in power that have the ability to do something about just how difficult our healthcare system is functioning at the moment, what message would you share?


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