Americans Face Difficult Decisions On Health Insurance Amid The Pandemic

By Consumers For Quality Care, on January 29, 2021

Americans Face Difficult Decisions On Health Insurance Amid The Pandemic

The Guardian highlights how the coronavirus pandemic is forcing families across the United States to choose between paying for basic necessities or receiving vital care.

Quana Madison, an artist with disabilities in Colorado, has struggled for years with big medical costs while fighting breast cancer. Debt from the medical bills forced her to file for bankruptcy despite having private health insurance at the time.

“My income as an artist fluctuates dramatically every month,” said Madison, who lost a significant amount of work and contracts due to the pandemic. “After January who knows if I will have insurance.”

In Nevada, Daniel Oxford has been fighting colon cancer for over two years. He’s working on getting coverage under Medicaid again, which he lost due to a clerical error. Meanwhile, he also lost his job due to the coronavirus pandemic and has had to rely on family and friends to cover expenses like his medical bills and food.

“I need these medical supplies to live. It isn’t fair that I have to choose between buying groceries or medical supplies,” said Oxford. “I plan on going back to work soon, I’m just trying to get as healthy as possible, but I’m nervous to go back with such a bad immune system. Working with people and coronavirus going around like crazy, especially in a tourist city like Las Vegas, I’m not excited.”

Analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) estimates that anywhere between two to three million Americans lost their employer-based health insurance between March and September of 2020.

However, some of the hardest hit Americans are those with fluctuating income. Many have not been able to find insurance on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) marketplace because plans don’t cover all medical specialists. Meanwhile, those with pre-existing conditions have found the private marketplace useless as they don’t have plans that cover people with pre-existing conditions.