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Making insurance plans away from home

Posted on 12.11.2013

My brother, sister and I all got cut off from insurance. It has been a stressful situation and a very sad one. Not just because a system that was built to help people like me let my family down, but also because of the responses I get from many people when I tell people this. I have heard, “This is why Obamacare needs to go away,” “It is all the government’s fault with this health care bill,” “This is why Obama needs to be impeached.”
These responses are also sad because they show that so many people do not realize it was actually a health plan that has been around since 1965 that cut us off. This program is Medicaid.
Medicaid was signed into legislation by President Lyndon Johnson in 1965 to help low-income families receive full medical coverage. I was on Medicaid my whole life until January of 2013. My parents made about $30 over the required income for a five person household, so I was cut off. As if $30 was going to be enough to pay for allergy prescriptions, glasses, dental work and checkups, but that is a whole different argument.
A couple of months ago, we were told that because my brother and I were both 18 or older, our house was considered a three-person household. Because of this,  my parents were told that they would have to pay $50 every month for my sister to have full coverage. My parents were fine with this because at least this way my brother and sister still had full coverage.
The supervisor then encouraged my mother to apply for food stamps, because when applying for food stamps, all the people living in a household are counted, no matter the age. She was assured that we would be approved, that we qualified, so she did.
Not only were we denied the food stamps, but they closed the whole case. No food stamps, no insurance, nothing.
In 2012, 48 million Americans did not have health insurance, and 46.5 million people lived in poverty, according to the Census Bureau. I am one of these Americans, and one of the terrifying things is the lack of resources on campus and elsewhere to help other students like me. I went to the Student Health Center here on campus to see if maybe there was a program that could help lead me in the right direction. UIndy is great about helping students like me financially when it comes to tuition and fees, so I thought maybe they could help with insurance, too.
I was told, however, there was neither one of these things. I was given a website called to help me do some research, but it was not easy to navigate, and I am still empty-handed. College may be a time for more  independence, and college students may be adults now, but the university is still a teaching institution and a place for students to learn and adapt. This has been one of the biggest changes in my life, and I cannot find anyone on campus to help me.
UIndy should not feel obligated to bless me with free insurance, but there should be something on campus to help guide me and other students about how to get insurance if we need it. Through college, we find education, we find internships and we find jobs. Why not insurance, too? Why not have a help desk that can guide students in a more hands-on learning experience or answer our questions such as, “Are workers on campus going to be affected by Obamacare?” I have been here for almost a semester, and I do not know where or to whom to turn for any of this. This situation can be changed, and I believe it needs to be.
Insurance is a hot topic right now, but as the Republicans and the Democrats argue during meetings in Washington or during lunch right here on campus, there are students praying they do not wind up in a car accident, have an asthma attack or get injured while playing sports with friends because they cannot pay for the treatments. UIndy may not be able to change Medicaid, but it can help these students gain peace of mind by offering the guidance and support they need.


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