Moms, let's talk about health care
My name is Angela Warren and I am an uninsured mother of four in Arizona.
I had worked full-time since I was 15, but that changed after the birth of my 4th child at 34. For years I went to work at 4:30 AM and was able to provide quality health insurance for my children. I had great coverage as a Manager at Starbucks and didn’t know what uninsured parents in the United States were going through, until I became one myself. After my youngest child was born, I became a full time stay at home mother, and we were able to receive coverage from my husband's employer. This worked for some time, but my husband and I divorced, and while my children were still thankfully eligible for health insurance coverage under his plan, I became uninsured.
This means that I have been uninsured for the past 2.5 years because there simply are no affordable options. I am happy to say that I am recently remarried to a wonderful man with a job at a small software firm, but because the company he works for is small, the insurance they offer is astronomically expensive and limited. So, we are faced with this dilemma...pay for insurance coverage that would cost over 500 dollars a month with a 9,000 dollar deductible which would still leave us in debt should something happen, or be able to support our family and provide things like braces for our children and save for their college educations.
As far as I’m concerned this is no choice—as moms we want to put our kids first—which leaves parents like us vulnerable without proper health coverage.
Thankfully, we are in good health and rarely see a doctor, but this does nothing to ease my worries. I recently had a stray dog bite my leg, and I decided to treat it at home rather than seek out of pocket medical treatment that may have taken years to payoff. While I was lucky and only have a scar left, it was unnerving. What if that dog had infected me with rabies? What if I had gotten an infection? These things are never far from my mind. If God forbid I was in an accident, or one day found 'a lump', my young family could be financially ruined forever.
No parent should experience this fear or be asked to weigh their children’s futures over health care, but sadly we are not alone. My sister, brother in law and best friend all struggle to provide health insurance for their families at unbelievably high costs because they are self-employed or own small businesses. This has been one of the great things about the Affordable Care Act— that it’s opened up dialogue and helps us see just how many people are uninsured. This is why I support the Wellness Wonder Team. When I first visited the healthcare.gov website I was excited to find out more—the website had great videos and was just amazingly helpful. What a blessing to have this resource where you can call your best friend and tell them what you learned about the marketplaces. I think that as moms we are a much stronger force if we join together. So many of us are going through this and have just never talked about it, but now the Wellness Wonder Team is giving us a way to talk about it both locally and nationally.
I believe as a country, we are better than this. We deserve better than the choices many of us have had to make regarding providing healthcare for our families and ourselves.