Nia, a med student at Howard University, thinks health care is a right not a privilege and 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.
Nia had been on her mother’s insurance, but was dropped after she graduated from undergrad and got married. Currently, she has the student health care at her college, and while it covers basics, visits to the clinic often lead to expensive specialist referrals or trips to the emergency room. Both carry steep costs, and so, despite a nagging ankle injury, Nia has stayed away.
“In February, I hurt my ankle and I was going back and forth about it, but I just didn’t know how much it was going to cost me,” she says. “If I have to get an MRI or something, that’s going to be really expensive.”
So the aspiring doctor avoids the doctor, the incongruity of which is not lost on her, “It’s ironic because I’m in med school, but no one’s taking care of me.” She sees this with her friends too, the ones still in school and the ones freshly graduated.
“It’s hard when you’re first starting out, for people graduating from college or getting a job. I even looked at getting my own insurance, and it’s like $200-$300 a month.” Along with rent and other bills and student loans, she finds that she and her peers often let things go unchecked, worrying about the expenses.
With the dependent coverage provision however, she thinks things are looking up, not just for her, not just for her fellow students, but for Americans everywhere.
“Most people go into medicine because they want to help people and you can’t help people who can’t come into the office because they can’t afford it. This helps more people because it allows doctors to see them, and then we get to help those people.”