A few years ago, I went roller skating with a few friends. I was uncharacteristically shaky on my rented skates. I’m no expert roller skater, but I know how to skate well enough. I used to roll around the neighborhood in a cute pair of white and lavender skates. I loved those skates and was sad when I grew out of them.

But this time, I was shaky and scared. I didn’t want to fall. I was sure that falling would cause a break and that would mean insane medical bills I could not afford*. At the time, I was between being a full-time employee at UCLA — where I had great benefits — and a full-time student when I’d have access to the graduate student health insurance plan.

That’s the only time in my life I’ve ever been one of the millions without health insurance. I’m fortunate as is most of my family. (I know insurance companies are often a headache, or The Devil as Dom suggests.)

But not my cousin. She’s currently dealing with some health issues and the costs are piling. And she doesn’t even know what’s going on and why she feels sick. She’s worried. Her family is worried. My uncle (not her dad, but another tío) called me asking what kind of resources were available for a full-time student who had aged out of her parent’s health insurance policy. I searched around online and found some stuff from her school.

If you have any other info, let me know. I’d appreciate it.

* Like most people who have roller skated, I’ve fallen many times and never broken anything. However, my sister did break her arm when she was a kid while on roller skates. So I wasn’t just being paranoid.


7 thoughts on “Headaches

  1. I was having this very same conversation with an indian (slurpee not casino) friend of mine. She tells me that her mom considers health insurance to be the single marker of ‘making it’.

    Of course there’s the south of the border option. Some of the people in my family are currently in the process of getting dental care in Mexicali. Obviously not the most savory route, but if the health issue is not too invasive, maybe this could help?

  2. After finishing grad school, I went about six months without health or dental insurance. I was lucky, because the worst that happened during that time is that I sprained my ankle pretty badly, but I just dealt with it without going to the doctor.

    It was almost two years before I was able to get dental insurance though, and that all came to bite me in the ass this year. As a result of not having gone to the dentist in ’06 and ’07, I ended up with six fillings and two bone graft surgeries in ’08, costing me thousands out of pocket, even with insurance. Bleh.

    I don’t have any suggestions for your cousin, but I hope she’s okay. Perhaps she can get care outside the U.S. (Even with insurance here, it’s often cheaper to get things taken care of abroad. I’ve had emergency health care in Iran for cheap, and I received treatment at the emergency room in England for free.)

  3. Going to Tijuana takes time, money, and a car. It’s only in recent years that I’ve had health insurance, most of my life it was all about crossing fingers or waiting in the County line. She should go to County hospital, they have to help you even if you can’t afford it.

  4. If you think insurance companies are headaches, try dealing with government provided healthcare, like medicaid. Might as well not have insurance.

    I second (or is it fourth?)what everybody else says, go to Mexico. I know people who go there even though they have great health insurance in the US. (I look forward to the day when most healthcare is outsourced. I would definitely consider getting quality healthcare in India, for example).

  5. beatriz says:

    Did they exhaust her COBRA option? If she aged out of her parent’s health insurance – they should have offered her COBRA coverage – which is the same coverage as she had. It can be expensive but they can pay it every month until she really needs it for up to 18 months. Let me know if I can help…

  6. chuy says:

    Great topic! It’s sad that while (some) people south of the border come to the U.S. for free medical care, U.S. citizens have to go South of the border for affordable medical care. (Something is definitely wrong with this picture!)

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