Fix the US Healthcare System

Full Text Sharing

When I moved back to California from North Carolina in mid-September 2019 to work at a small non-profit, I applied to be on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) high deductible, Kaiser Plan.  When I got married at the end of September, I immediately applied for my wife who was coming from Japan.  However, in mid-March 2020 I was let go from my job. With no income, except unemployment we applied for Medi-cal.   I received this starting May 1 through Inland Empire Health Plan (IEHP). However, I couldn’t get back on Kaiser until June 1 and my wife, due to some snags, couldn’t get on Medi-Cal until June 1 and on Kaiser until July 1.

I’m appreciative of the fact that my wife and I have had the ACA and Medi-Cal coverage. We’ve been able to navigate having healthcare where many might not. But I’m now concerned that once I obtain a job we will again have to go through reapplying for the ACA and will lose medical coverage for at least one month.

The COVID-19 pandemic has made it abundantly clear that there is a need for universal healthcare no matter whether a person is employed or has the financial means to support themselves. A plan that follows a person, no matter where they live in the US and adjusts for variations in income with no lapses in coverage is vital to maintaining healthy citizens. Although I’ve had health care for most of my life— even when I lived in India and Nepal for seven years—for the past four years I’ve experienced the difficulties in maintaining consistent coverage.

Since I moved back to the US from Nepal in September 2016, I’ve had a patchwork of medical coverage. Working for small non-profits that couldn’t afford to provide adequate healthcare, I’ve been covered through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in Arizona, North Carolina, and California.  Due to high plan deductibles, I’ve also gone to community health centers, where they either took my insurance or charged a minimal amount for services. Fortunately, I haven’t had any major medical health issues and therefore the coverage has been sufficient.

Besides the high deductible plans which I’ve had to take due to high premium costs, I’ve also had periods with no coverage. This has been due to moving to different states, and most recently in my present predicament of having been let go from my job mid-March. There is a lag time between going from one plan to another meaning that for at least one month, my wife and I, had no coverage. At these times, we’ve depended upon our ability to eat well and exercise to stay healthy. If we would have had an accident this most likely would have been the end of any savings and retirement funds.

My first experience with the Affordable Care Act occurred four years ago when I took a job in Tucson, Arizona. Although I wasn’t getting paid much, I was doing work that I enjoyed. I enrolled in the ACA and received my services at El Rio Community Health Center. The services were excellent and the co-pays and pharmaceutical costs were manageable.

However, in December 2017, my mother became ill and I moved to California to help other family members with her care. The intention was to stay only long enough to help my mother recover and to find another job. Due to timing and applications while I was in California for three months, I had two months with medical coverage, but if I had become ill, I would have had to pay out-of-network fees. My mother did recover and in March 2018 I moved to Durham, North Carolina to take a job with another non-profit organization.  

Although the organization in North Carolina offered a plan and to pay for half of the premium, this still would have left me with a bill of $400/month which based on my salary would not have been affordable. I enrolled in the ACA in North Carolina receiving medical care from another community health center, Samaritan Health Center, as my income fit within their guidelines during 2018. However, in 2019 as I was being paid for a full year and at some point, I was no longer eligible for their services.

Given my parents age, I decided to move back to California in mid-September 2019. I was again working for a small non-profit which offered no medical coverage. I applied for ACA coverage, but due to timing I had no coverage for one month. I married at the end of September and immediately filled out paperwork for my wife to gain her medical coverage. We enrolled in  ACA-Kaiser Permanente, but in a high deductible plan which meant a lot of out of pocket costs, including for a very basic physical exam.

My hope is that a new administration will take stories like mine and so many others to heart and improve upon the ACA ensuring universal health care coverage for all.



Position: Lover of Life-Change Agent

Add new comment

Filtered HTML

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

About Us

The idea is simple: creating an open “Portal” where engaged and committed citizens who feel to share their ideas and offer their opinions on development related issues have the opportunity to do...


Please fell free to contact us. We appreciate your feedback and look forward to hearing from you.

Empowered by ENGAGE,
Toward the Volunteering Inspired Society.