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Mariafernanda’s #GetCovered Story: Young, Healthy and Insured

Summary: 
We think we’re going to live forever. We think we’ll always be young and healthy. But we have to take care of ourselves.

I’m 24 and working two jobs while I decide what I want to do in life. And like many other young adults, I didn’t have health insurance. Why would I? I’m young, relatively healthy and worried about the cost.

But unexpected health issues arose anyway. Because I didn’t have health insurance, I put off seeing an eye specialist even though an optometrist found a spot on my retina that could be a serious problem.

I put it out of my mind. I was feeling my “inner ostrich”—putting my head in the sand.

Even when the Health Insurance Marketplace first opened, I didn’t think I could afford health coverage. It didn’t really hit me until this Open Enrollment that I had to get coverage or pay a fine.

Fortunately, my sister pushed me to go to a navigator. She was knowledgeable and helped me find a quality plan through the Marketplace for a premium of $48 a month after the tax credit—and with a zero deductible. My copay to see a specialist is $5. I also made sure that my new Marketplace plan includes the specialist whom I want to check out the spot on my eye. And I plan on getting a physical and other screenings.

We think we’re going to live forever. We think we’ll always be young and healthy. But we have to take care of ourselves. Health insurance is an important step toward taking control of our health. But don’t delay: You need to sign up by January 31 for coverage that starts March 1.

Mariafernanda Davila (bottom left) talks to HHS Secretary Burwell during a 2016 Open Enrollment event in Tampa, Florida on Sunday, January 10, 2016.  Photo by Gregg Pachkowski.
Mariafernanda Davila (bottom left) talks to HHS Secretary Burwell during a 2016 Open Enrollment event in Tampa, Florida on Sunday, January 10, 2016. Photo by Gregg Pachkowski.

Financial assistance may be available to make your insurance even more affordable than you think. This is important, because people who can afford insurance and choose to go without it risk having to pay a fee of $695 or more. For instance, a single person with no dependents and $40,000 income would pay an estimated $746. Why pay the fine and not have health insurance?

Just visit HealthCare.gov or CuidadoDeSalud.gov to sign up today. You can also call 1-800-318-2596 for free, confidential help 24 hours a day, seven days a week in English and Spanish. You can find in-person help right in your own community by visiting LocalHelp.HealthCare.gov.  Help might even be available at your local community college, barbershop or church.

I urge all young adults, especially members of the Hispanic community, to get more information about the Marketplace.  Cultural barriers have hindered access to coverage and care for too many people in the Hispanic community. Too often we don’t get informed, and asking for help can be difficult.

But quality coverage through the Marketplace is affordable. Don’t let your “inner ostrich” get the best of you!

Young, healthy, and insured. Read Mariafernanda’s #GetCovered story → http://1.usa.gov/1OGoogW via @HHSgov

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