He had urged me many times before to get covered, but I thought I was invincible. I’m 34 and have lived a healthy lifestyle. I thought if I ate my vegetables and drove defensively, I’d be okay. In October, in November and into December, he pushed me to look into my options. I made a few half-hearted attempts to satisfy him, but I never took it seriously. Fortunately for me, his motto is, “Persistence beats resistance!” and he never gave up.
I was born and raised in Flint, Mich. After graduating from Michigan State University, I was no longer covered by my parents’ health insurance. The idea of purchasing my own was nowhere on my radar because I didn’t think I needed it.
Chasing my dreams, I moved to Los Angeles to try on different careers. I worked with a celebrity stylist, created a clothing line with my brother and began acting. Feeling a spiritual calling to be closer to home, I returned to Flint and pursued an acting career in the Metro Detroit area. With auditions and bookings so infrequent, I had to find part-time jobs — including a junior varsity volleyball coach position.
With all of this uncertainty, my income frequently fluctuated; one day I was covered under the county’s health plan, and the next I was kicked off. Going from insured to uninsured was exhausting, and I finally gave up. I’ve been uninsured for most of the past 10 years.
I realize now what a dangerous gamble that time in my life was. I didn’t think about accidents or illnesses. I didn’t even think about a benign lump in my right breast that I had removed years ago under my parents’ insurance. I never considered what I would have done if a lump had returned.
I was living on the edge, one mishap away from a financial disaster!
Maybe the concussion knocked some sense into me, but I finally listened to my dad.
I logged onto Healthcare.gov and enrolled in a Silver plan that includes dental. And since I qualify for a reduced premium, the plan costs less than $100 a month.
A burden I didn’t even realize I was carrying was lifted off of my shoulders!
I received my health insurance card on my mother’s birthday, January 2. What a great gift to us all! My parents and I now have the peace of mind knowing that I have affordable, quality insurance. I can go anywhere and pursue my dreams because I have the confidence of knowing that I am covered.
I strongly encourage all young adults to visit the Health Insurance Marketplace at HealthCare.gov before open enrollment ends March 31 — even if, like me, you think you’re invincible. It’s easy and your options may be cheaper than you think.
I won’t say that parents always know best, but I have to admit that signing up has been a breath of fresh air. I’m so glad mine never gave up. Thanks, Dad!
Watch LaNika’s video here.
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(Photo: U.S. Department of Health & Human Services)