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.
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.
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 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.