SERIES: Healthcare in America #33, Judith N. Kearns, This Is the Bronx

By Judith N. Kearns, March 18, 2019

We have been covering stories for several months of people –with for profit, public, or no insurance—who struggle with the double indemnity of health crises and financial troubles. But so far, we have not reported about a population still young enough to benefit from a major facet of the Affordable Care Act: coverage on parents’ policies until age 26. But what happens when they age out and struggle with health bills on top of student loans accrued by 70% of college graduates? 

A Sudden Illness Changed My Life’s Work

Seven years ago, the future I had planned evaporated. Otherwise healthy, I was in graduate school, studying at a mid-western university. With a graduate degree, I could pursue the career in psychology that was a lifelong ambition. I was covered by university health insurance and, what I thought was a temporary glitch, became something much more. 

The college doctor could not figure out what was going on. Since I had always been active in sports, I thought perhaps I might have overexerted myself. To be cautious, I went to our family doctor during spring break in the hope of easing the pain (which kept getting steadily worse). My expectation was that he would say that I was simply still experiencing growing pains or that, unbeknownst to me, I had incurred an injury that was minor and that didn’t produce an instant shock to my system. …

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