I am a sophomore at Hunter College studying media. I’m planning on working in the design field in the future like with UX/UI design. My aunt hurt her back during covid. It was right after she canceled her healthcare insurance, because she couldn’t afford to keep paying for it. She couldn’t afford to pay out of pocket to go to the doctor, so she just stayed at home and did home remedies to help her back. I have insurance covered though my parents’ family plan. I am concerned about losing insurance when I age out of my family’s plan.
During covid, my mom was switching jobs and lost the insurance for the family. We had to be extra cautious not to get sick or hurt, because then we would have to pay out of pocket even for a yearly check up. By having a more equitable health care system and universal health care, everyone can have access to the most basic human care, like a yearly check up or even going to see a dentist. By having those available, people can be more protected and more healthy.
My name is Jodi Lewis and I am a junior at Hunter College student with a major in English Literature, minoring in Human Rights. After graduation I plan on attending graduate school in order to attain my dual degree Masters in Public Administration and Health Administration. There was never a time that I can remember that a family member was denied healthcare, however I am currently without health care because I am not a citizen of the United States nor am I a green card holder. As a result I am currently on Obama Care where I receive healthcare and medication at a reduced cost, which I have to renew each year because of my status. I am concerned that there may be a time that this benefit will no longer exist and I will have to pay for health care which is expensive. As a student who pays out of pocket and out of state tuition, which includes paying for my own books and transportation, I think it is important for healthcare to be easily accessible to those who experience financial hardship especially students like me. Health is a priority and a human right to everyone regardless of their status. The cost of living in New York is very high, and the last thing that I want to think about is not being able to see a doctor because I don’t have insurance. Having to factor in paying for rent, food along with school expenses, sometimes I feel stressed.
Azania “Sammie” Maitland is a rising Junior who majors in Political Science and minors in Legal Studies at Hunter College. She hopes to work for the State for 1-2 years prior to entering grad school to study Public Policy. Knowing the challenges that uninsured or underinsured New Yorker’s are facing, she feels privileged that she has a family that is more or less able to get by. As a full time college student she is insured via Medicaid and has struggled with the gap in adequate dental coverage. She’s a self-professed dental-phobe due to some bad experiences in the past, because finding a quality dentist with her insurance is a challenge. Unfortunately, the costs for dental work out of pocket can be astronomical. It worries her, if she gets a cavity, an infection, or needs something like a root canal – that she wouldn’t be able to get appropriate care to fix the issue.
It is my second year at BMCC and my major is business management. My goal is to finish my associates degree and pursue a career in real estate. I am doing business because I find the classes interesting. My plan is to eventually start my own real estate business.
I am thankful that my parents have quality health insurance and I am able to be covered under their insurance plan. However, my cousin is not so lucky and I would like to talk about his experience with the healthcare system in New York.
My cousin is 19 and has health insurance under his parents plan but his parent’s plan does not cover many health care costs. While playing football my cousin dislocated his shoulder and his health insurance didn’t cover the costs of medical exams so he had to pay $2,000 out of pocket. His insurance also does not cover the full cost of medicines that he needs. For example, when a medicine costs $180, he has to pay $100 and his insurance only covers $80, less than half of the cost.
He often cannot count on his health insurance when accidents happen. One time at work my cousin got in an accident and got a piece of metal in his eye, and his insurance does not cover eye doctors, so he had to pay $200 out of pocket for the exam.
Next year, after I graduate from BMCC I will move out of my parents house and get a job. I will look for my own health insurance coverage then. I believe that universal health care is a good idea because it will help out a lot of low-income people who don’t get paid well at their jobs. It will help people pay for other expenses such as rent, groceries, and paying for their children’s school supplies instead of worrying about the high costs of healthcare. The current price of some medicines is ridiculous. For example, eye drops can cost $300 if insurance doesn’t cover them and this makes basic healthcare needs inaccessible to all. This needs to be changed by passing universal healthcare in NYS.
My name is Marlyn Saona, and I am a student at BMCC. My major is business management and this is my last semester at BMCC. Once I graduate, I plan on transferring to a four-year college to get my Bachelor’s Degree.
For healthcare, I rely on my mother’s health insurance. For the most part it is fine, except when I needed braces my mom’s healthcare was not adequate. I needed braces in order to present myself to the world professionally. However, braces are very expensive and my mom’s insurance did not cover them. My mom and I kept going to many different orthodontists to see if we could get them for free, but they said that we didn’t qualify for free braces and that we had to pay for them. It ended up costing around $3,000 in total and my mom had to pay out of pocket. My parents paid little by little each month but it was stressful to pay for them on top of other bills my family already had.
I also wanted to share my cousin’s experience with healthcare in NYS. When my cousin first came to the United States two years ago he was 21 years old. He wanted to get a physical but he did not have health insurance. He had no other option but to pay full price for his doctor’s visit and it was very expensive. Since then, my cousin hasn’t been able to go to the doctor because of how expensive it is. He doesn’t get check-ups because he is afraid of the bill. Healthcare should not be so expensive that people are avoiding necessary doctor visits just because of the high costs.
Aging out of my mom’s health care worries me because I want to continue going to the doctor but it is too much money. Hopefully by that time I will be able to afford insurance, but I should be able to get it whether or not I have a job because health care should be a human right.
I think everyone should get healthcare because you can get sick out of nowhere and you should go to the doctor without having to pay exorbitant costs for it. In NY a lot of incidents happen out of nowhere. Students especially should have guaranteed healthcare because they are supposed to be focusing on school, not whether or not they can pay their healthcare bills. Everyone should have the same healthcare options no matter what their income is.
I am a senior attending Hunter College and thanks to having health insurance, I am able to visit the doctor to get my yearly shots and go to the dentist to get my check ups without having to worry about the cost. I am one of the many people out there that are fortunate enough to have medical insurance to cover the expensive cost of healthcare. But, even with insurance, sometimes people still need to cover the rest of the fees for their surgery or medicine that are expensive. In fact, I once changed my primary doctor and visited a new doctor’s office to get a check up and a blood test. A few weeks later, I received a bill asking me to pay for visiting the doctor. I was confused because from what I know, my health insurance always covered my primary doctor visits. In addition, there are many people in the United States that do not have medical insurance. These people either have to pay for the expensive checkups and medicine out of their own pockets or cannot afford to pay for it at all. I have heard many horror public health stories where people are refusing to take the ambulance or refusing to get treated when they are sick or injured due to hospital bills ranging from thousands to tens of thousands of dollars. People would rather suffer alone and hold in their pain which can be fatal and even lead to death than have a tremendous debt due to the lack of proper health insurance.
Medicine, like insulin, is highly needed for people with diabetes, and hospital bills from treatments, checkups, and surgeries should not cost so much to the point that people are refusing to go to hospitals. I have a friend who once asked for my dentist because she said the dentist she goes to in Manhattan charged too much for simple checkups. My brother in law says he doesn’t like going to the dentist because the last time he went to take out a few of his teeth, it cost him hundreds of dollars due to the lack of health insurance. As his father has the same issue with insurance, his father hesitates to go to the dentist even when he has severe tooth pain. There are people who are hesitant to go to hospitals when they are sick due to their immigrant status as the lack of health insurance means paying a lot of money for treatment.
I wish that the higher ups who represent us Americans would care more about their people than money. There are other countries out there that have better healthcare than America, where they value their people more than money. I get it, money is important as it helps the world function. But it is hard enough for people to make a living, especially during this pandemic. There needs to be more affordable and accessible health insurance for all, despite where they come from, their immigrant status, age, gender, employment, and etc. People’s lives matter more and it should be a priority. After all, what is money if there are no people around?
My name is Isabellah Paul and I attend CUNY Hunter. I live in a household with a single mother of four and complications regarding my mother’s health insurance has made things difficult for my family and I to receive basic services. My mother works as a government employee and so she is granted health insurance by the state. While we are listed under her insurance, there are often instances when I receive services and get a bill sent to me in the mail for any extraneous expenses expected to be covered covered by my mother’s insurance, but not. These bills often can go as high as $400, money that I did not expect to pay out of my pocket.
As a full time college student funding most of my monetary expenses independently, it can be difficult paying bills for routine services such as a checkup, physical exam, or even receiving shots or a COVID test. Being under my mother’s insurance would prompt one to think that most expenses would be covered other than the copay. However these laboratory bills, of which my mother never receives when she goes to the doctor or urgent care, pose as a major fiscal inconvenience and burden to me, as a student.
Advocating for better healthcare and promoting more accessibility for basic services proves an important step in reforming public health. Health insurance drastically impacts the ability of individuals to receive affordable treatment, and extraneous bills and payments make it difficult for people to fund such services. The public health sector has a significant impact on individual’s ability to carry out their daily lives. Improving healthcare would have a significant effect on its accessibility and affordability, thus aiding more of the population.
I’m a junior at Hunter College majoring in Political Science with a minor in Women and Gender Studies and a minoring in Legal Studies. After graduating college, I plan to attend law school to get my J.D. and become a licensed legal attorney.
There have been a couple of times where my loved ones needed better health care but weren’t able to get it. During my senior year of high school, my father got very sick and was diagnosed with a disease that affected his kidneys, and his body broke down proteins. It was a sporadic disease that not much of the population dealt with, so it took a while to figure out what was happening to him and why. He grew weak, lost and gained extreme weight, and had to fight through unemployment for medical reasons. He mostly got his healthcare through his job. He needed to get more help medically, and it was scary that at this time, in the early phases of his illness, he couldn’t go to the doctor and get the help he needed earlier when his life was at risk. He also had trouble getting the medicine he needed to treat and maintain his illness after being diagnosed. The insurance he got at his new job didn’t completely cover the medicine or his treatments, so he’d have to cover the rest out of pocket. It has always been an issue for my father to get full healthcare coverage and find good health insurance that would help him.
I do have health insurance, and I’m covered mostly through my mom from Medicare. I have HealthFirst, as do my sisters. Aging out of my mom’s health insurance plan is scary, and I’m not looking forward to making that huge transition. I am not struggling with the high cost of medical bills or medical debt, but I know my father is dealing with medical debt from the previous situation. Not having a job or not working while incapable of doing so due to medical reasons was very difficult, and my father had to take out loans to pay for rent and cover medical bills. It was a tough time, but my father is significantly better now and has the medicine to treat his illness.
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.