After a lifetime of security and serenity living in her own home, Kelly Percival’s life was jolted into crisis after an unfortunate accident left her hobbling and a global pandemic left her unemployed.
“One little thing can happen in a heartbeat that can put you at risk of losing everything,” she says.
A vacation turned into a nightmare when she slipped and fell on a wet hotel floor, shattering her ankle.
Over the next few weeks, she would survive a grueling operation that left her with two plates and 17 screws in her foot, months of physical therapy, and $40,000 in medical bills. Then, just as she was getting ready to go back to work in March, COVID-19 hit and took her job.
“It’s a shame that in my country, after owning my own home for 40 years I could end up homeless or living in a room in someone else’s house,” Kelly says.
Her unemployment payment only covers her food, utilities and car payment. It runs out in a few months. She’s told her creditors– including health providers asking for co-pays and deductibles from hospitals, and surgeries -– she can’t pay.
For now, she survives with unemployment compensation. She worries about finding a new job at her age that pays enough to keep her financially sound. She also worries that without physical therapy, she won’t recover her mobility or become dependent on walking with a cane.
“I really don’t know what’s going to happen to me,” she says.
In desperation, she looked into early retirement but discovered that retiring now would only provide $800 a month, not enough to cover her $1300 mortgage payment, much less pay for health insurance until she qualifies for Medicare at 65.
Kathy needs health coverage now! But because she lives in Florida, one of the 13 states that has refused federal funding for coverage of low income adults, she cannot afford the health care she needs in order to keep working: physical therapy; medication for her chronic migraines and stomach pains ( which have gotten worse under the stress of the pandemic and unemployment); and treatment for recurrent sinus infections that require doctor’s visits to get antibiotics.
At age 62, she cannot wait another three years for insurance.
“Thank goodness I don’t have any other serious health issues,” Kathy says. I’m doing my best to stay healthy. I have to take care of myself because I can’t afford to get sick.”