6 Struggles Of Not Having Health Insurance As A Twentysomething
Not having health insurance is a nuisance. You're probably face palming right now, sighing out an indignant, "Well duh!" But if you've ever gone without healthcare, you know that "nuisance" is more than just "because of your health". Of course the expense of health care without insurance is obscene. I know this. You know this. Insured people know this. This is an obvious nuisance of not having health insurance. But what about all the less obvious challenges, the types of things that people don't immediately take into consideration when they think of not having insurance?
While Obamacare is a step towards democratizing health insurance, it's not a perfect system. Obamacare was perfect when I was unemployed. I paid four dollars a month for insurance. But as soon as I got a job, that premium went up one hundred fold. I earn enough to pay more than four dollars, but I certainly don't earn enough where paying $400 a month would be easy. Indeed, after doing the math, I found that rent, bills, plus that increased insurance, would mean I'd struggle to pay for other necessities — like, for instance, food. Forget about saving. So that's the story of why I don't have health insurance, which has led me to discover some interesting, unexpected nuisances, outside of the actual cost of health care, that go hand in hand with not having insurance:
1. Getting An Appointment At Planned Parenthood
The people at Planned Parenthood are angels. Make no mistake: I have no beef with Planned Parenthood. I think PP is the most marvelous resource for women, and they are doing true, thankless humanitarian work and should be celebrated every single day. But being that many women are without access to doctors, PP is always busy. Which means that you're on their schedule. Not only do you have to make an appointment weeks in advance, you have to take what you get (because you are SO grateful for the free/cheap care). It just means a lot of working your schedule around theirs, which isn't a complaint because again, PP are saints, but it can be a nuisance when you rely on that for things like birth control. It certainly requires a lot of foresight and organization!
2. Not Having An Actual Excuse For Missing Work
You know how doctors write certificates for sick people to show to their bosses to legitimize their illness and subsequent time off work? The non-insured don't have that. We either have to work through our sickness or hope that our boss trusts us to believe that we are actually sick when we say we are.
3. Having To Resort To Weird Home Remedies Your Grandma Taught You
When I had an ear infection as a child, my yiayia would heat up some olive oil in a spoon over the stove top, dip a cotton wool ball in it, and then stuff the cotton wool ball in my ears. That's the kind of sh*t you have to recall and resort to when you don't have health insurance, and it ain't always pretty.
4. You Double Down On Vitamins
They might not always work, but if you're anything like me, you keep a well stocked vitamin section in your bathroom cupboard anyway. And it's not just vitamins; you're always preemptively trying not to get sick. Which is suppose is a good thing, because without insurance you're probably much more likely to diligently eat things that are boosting your immune system (or is that just me because I'm a bit of a hypochondriac?). It becomes a nuisance when you avoid kissing your partner when they have even a hint of the sniffles.
5. You Really Start Relying On The Drug Store Pharmacist
If you don't have insurance, the pharmacist at whatever drug store you go to is about to be your best friend. It means a lot of furtively leaning across the counter to say private things like "rash" and "vagina" and not have the entire line behind you hear, but the more you do it, the less awkward it will become. But the first few times you have to say things like "discharge" and "mucus" to a stranger in a public setting, it will be enough to make you break out in hives, which is something you'll have to ask them about too. It's like being 16 and buying condoms or tampons for the first time all over again.
6. And Your Friend Who Studied Anything Even Vaguely Related To Medicine
I have a friend who studied osteopathy at uni, so obviously when anything weird is going on I describe it to her in great detail and send photos. Any friend who studied anything even vaguely science related will have to field these questions. Me, I take all the syntax and legal questions. It's a weird place to go in your friendship, but if the system wont support you, at least you know your friends will.