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Keesha C. Baldwin, NY
Keesha C., 25 , Baldwin, NY
Keesha expected some discomfort when she visited the dentist, but once her cleaning and exam were over, she got even more than she bargained for.
Unbeknownst to her, and her father, she had been dropped from his insurance coverage.
Keesha had to pay out of pocket, an expense she wasn’t prepared for. “Thank god the visit wasn’t out of the ordinary,” she says. “I’m in college – it was hard just to pay as much as I did, but I’m lucky it didn’t break me. What was really unfortunate was not knowing ahead of time.”
It wasn’t the first time that the 25-year-old American University political science grad student had been dropped from coverage. It had happened erroneously once before when she was 23, and that time her father had been able to provide the documentation to show that she was still in school, and therefore still covered.
Given the shaky history with her current insurance coverage, Keesha and her father are delighted that in September he’ll be able to cover her under the new dependent coverage provision. According to Keesha, he’s been following the bill closely since its passage, asking his insurance company when they’d extend the coverage. “He’s been asking since March about what would happen, and what they’ve said all along is ‘we’ll wait until that time comes.” Just a couple of weeks ago they were saying we’d be covered in September.”
Currently, however, Keesha is without insurance. She’s been looking but hasn’t found a plan that she could afford. “My dad and my aunt helped me,” she says. “We looked at different plans, but as a college student, it’s not easy to find an insurance that’s not crazy expensive, especially when you’re trying to pay for college and you’re not able to work as much.”
For now, she’s just trying to play it safe. “Unfortunately, you walk around with a black cloud – ‘I hope I don’t get sick. I hope I don’t get into a car accident.’ I guess for me the good thing is that I know in a couple weeks, I’ll have insurance again so it’s just waiting out that couple of weeks.”
Keesha will graduate in May of 2011 and remain covered until her birthday in August. After college she aims to get into advocacy. She hopes to put her experiences, both from college and life, to work helping others. She’s happy she’s entering the workforce at a time when health care for Americans is expanding.
“We live in a country that talks about the American Dream and people being able to have their rights of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.” For this to happen, she reasons, “ we have to give them some sort of support.”
This story brought to you by Campus Progress and the Getting Covered Campaign.
With a son about to graduate college, Paul R., the aquatics director at Dickinson College, a liberal arts college in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, was following healthcare reform closely, particularly the Dependent Coverage provision. He even had a New York Times alert set up to let him know when the bill was signed into law.
Nia, a med student at Howard University, thinks health care is a right not a privilege and therefore, was already very happy that reform was signed into law. “I was actually really excited for other people because I didn’t think it was going to apply to me,” she says. She’s since learned that because of the Dependent Coverage provision that she will be able to return to her mother’s quality coverage, “Now I’m even more excited,” she adds.
Dr. Kathryn Ellerbeck, a pediatrician at the University of Kansas, heralds the dependent care coverage provision for two very important reasons: her daughters Alexandra and Ali. In the case of her youngest daughter, Ali, who was born 19 years ago with a congenital heart defect, it is a tremendous relief for Kathryn to know that she can extend coverage for her daughter whose condition requires regular maintenance and occasional major surgeries.
Meghan H. watched as her little brother bounced from one Missouri walk-in clinic to another, seeking treatment for allergies that seemed to be worsening, causing recurring sinus infections and headaches. The problems only grew worse, ultimately threatening his life. Yet, Megan knows it would have been different if he could have gotten insurance.
Keesha expected some discomfort when she visited the dentist, but once her cleaning and exam were over, she got even more than she bargained for. Unbeknownst to her, and her father, she had been dropped from his insurance coverage. It wasn’t the first time that the 25-year-old American University political science grad student had been dropped from coverage.
Catherine M. received her B.A from Drexel University in 2009, majoring in International Area Studies, with a focus on justice and human rights. This fall, she expects to take that degree and apply for a job making espresso-based drinks at a coffee-shop chain. Like many young people, the need for a job with health insurance limits her employment options.