Mika was injured in a car accident and had to stop working. Without income, Mika did not qualify for a Marketplace “Obamacare” subsidy, making health insurance unaffordable.
Mika shares, in her own words, how challenging life is without Medicaid.
My name is Mika Mendoza and I fell into Florida’s health care “coverage gap.” A few years ago, I had a subsidy to buy health insurance through Obamacare. Although it was $100 a month even with my subsidy, I knew that I had to be responsible and get covered. And I was lucky that I did because health insurance literally saved me when I got appendicitis in 2016. Because I had coverage, I felt comfortable going to the hospital and I was able to avoid a $40,000 medical bill.
After a car accident in 2018, I had to stop working. To my shock, because I had no income, I was no longer eligible for my marketplace subsidy. I couldn’t believe it when I learned that without the subsidy, the cost of my insurance would more than double!
I was devastated that I wasn’t able to get help when I desperately needed it. After the car accident I needed x-rays and physical therapy, but I didn’t make enough money to qualify for assistance. And, because Florida has refused to expand Medicaid coverage for low-income adults, I had no way of affording insurance. As a result, I had to forego the medical attention I knew I needed and I worry about what that will mean in the future.
Going from being insured to being uninsured is a life-changer and no one should go without coverage. We all have a right to health care, no matter how little you make, no matter what type of life you lead. Florida must expand Medicaid to cover individuals like me who are trying to be responsible and take care of our health. Healthy individuals make a stronger community. I hope sharing my story can help make the case that it is way past time for Florida to expand Medicaid.
Together, our voices are powerful, but we can only do this together. Please, if you are uninsured, contact the STORIES Project.