No Health Insurance? I Consider My Option

July 25th, 2011  |  by Veralyn Williams |  Published in Blog, Personal Essays, Videos

For quite some time I have wanted to vent my frustrations about not having health insurance–as that has meant googling symptoms and heading to the nearest pharmacy whenever I feel a cold coming on. However, venting alone is never productive, so I decided to find some folks who could relate.

In my last vlog I asked how big a deal it is not to have health insurance.

Not surprisingly, it actually is a big deal. In response to my vlog, one of my facebook friends pleaded with me to get some insurance ASAP. She says:

Diane: The #1 reason for bankruptcy is medical bills. It can ruin your credit. Please get insurance. Find a cheap one… and don’t let time drag on.

I know she’s right and I plan to do my research and find something I can afford, but honestly until now my main concern has been maintaining my birth control and annual OBGYN visits. And I’m happy to say I have been able to do that through Planned Parenthood.

But earlier this month, I came across the video below on, which discusses how access to Planned Parenthood’s services is being threatened nationwide.

As of today, four states have attempted to defund Planned Parenthood–Indiana, North Carolina, Wisconsin, and Kansas. My first reaction: shock, disappointment, and worry about what this means for the uninsured in those states. My second reaction: This better not happen in New York!

What would I do if it did while I were still uninsured? Well, as I see it, I have the following options:

1. Let go of my love for hamburgers. While interviewing Brandy for my vlog, she told me being uninsured has caused her to give up meat.

2. Move to London. Across the pond, women my age don’t have my health care woes because everything is covered by the government. Here is one London girl’s perspective on health care.

3. Find an Income Based Clinic. Okay, so since it’s very unlikely that I will be giving up meat or moving to London–ever!–I figure my final option would be to find a clinic with an affordable sliding-fee program (meaning I’d pay according to how much I make). To find one I would either call 311 or head on over to

I’ve had some experience with non-Planned Parenthood clinics in my area, and so far haven’t had a huge amount of luck. Once, after waiting all day for a walk-in appointment, I found out that the clinic I was in only offered STI and HIV testing but not Pap screenings. When trying to get an appointment at another clinic in my area, I was given a date almost 8 weeks in advance, which–thanks to my crazy and unpredictable schedule–I had to reschedule. Fortunately I was able to get an appointment at Planned Parenthood well before the date we’d rescheduled for came around.

So it might not be easy to fill the void Planned Parenthood would leave when it comes to access to convenient, affordable contraceptive services and information, but at least in my area there are a few options that wouldn’t bankrupt me.

Would you ever consider doing something drastic because you have no health insurance? Have you done something drastic already?

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