My name is Jennifer Chuqui and I am a freshman at Queens College, CUNY. I am majoring in Psychology and I’m interested in going into either forensic or clinical psychology after college. I was originally drawn to psychology because I see a therapist and I know how impactful it is to have support and guidance from a professional in the field. Mental health is an important part of healthcare that is often overlooked. Many people avoid going to life saving treatments, such as therapy, due to the hefty copays and lack of in-network providers.
Personally, I can relate to the financial stressors brought on by seeking essential health services. A few years ago, I went to a routine dental cleaning. At the check up, my doctor discovered that I had an infection and needed a root canal. My dentist couldn’t provide this service himself, so he recommended another in-network doctor. Upon contacting the other dentist, his office said that the procedure would cost an additional $600, even though it was covered by health insurance. They were wrongfully trying to take money from my parents. At this point, I was worried about the financial burden that this would place on my family. My parents are separated, so they both planned on paying half, but it would still be a huge expense for us. Luckily, in the end I was able to receive the procedure with no additional cost. Doctors should not have to spend their time parsing through complicated insurance plans. There should also be less convoluted language in insurance plans so that it is harder for doctors to overcharge their patients. Instead, doctor’s offices need a simple, universal plan so that they have stricter guidelines and have more time to focus on administering life saving and highly important treatments.
Outside of my root canal experience, I have concerns about paying for health insurance in the future. I currently have medicaid. While it is covering my health treatments for the time being, I worry about aging out of the system. If I do not meet the income requirements, I could lose my health insurance, while still not being able to afford treatments.
The New York Health Act would create a more equitable healthcare system. Currently, one’s financial resources determine access to care. Even if one is able to access care, there can still be financial stressors related to healthcare, such as with my root canal. With the New York Health Act, everyone would be able to have the right to healthcare, while paying much less for treatment.