I entered the foster care system when I was 11 months old. All throughout my childhood, I saw instances of kids’ health needs not being met, and situations that could have been avoided.
When I turned 18, my social worker made it seem like I wouldn’t qualify for MediCal anymore. So I stopped filling out the forms, and stopped going to the doctor.
But during my junior year of college I got bronchitis, that eventually turned into pneumonia. The pneumonia left me with bad asthma. I used my scholarship money to pay for an inhaler — money that I usually used to pay for books and flights home.
While I was visiting my foster parents in Los Angeles, I almost got stuck without enough money to fly back to school on the east coast.
I recently found out that I could receive MediCal until I turn 26 through the Affordable Care Act. It was usually stressful to sign up for MediCal — being bombarded with yellow envelopes full of forms asking for personal information. But I called up the Affordable Care Act hotline, and they activated my MediCal on the spot. No forms at all.
I’ll graduate from college in December, and I want to attend medical school the following fall. It’s a relief to know that I’ll be covered during the seven months while I’m studying for the MCAT and applying to programs. When I do attend medical school, I won’t have to purchase the school health insurance, which can be thousands of dollars each year.
My experiences with health care have driven me to want to study medicine. Ultimately, I want to impact health care policy. I think covering foster care youth until they are 26 is a step in the right direction.
If you are a former foster youth wanting more info about the Medical extension, check out this link.