Gainesville Daily Register


June 29, 2009

Is health insurance affordable?


Register Staff Writer

For ten years, she took care of other people.

Now, Deborah Bradley — a former home health care worker— could use a little help of her own.

Medical problems and poor eyesight make it impossible for her to do the kind of work she once did including helping and socializing with her clients even during her time off.

“I worked at the Turner Apartments. I would take care of my clients. Then I volunteered after work for dinners twice a week. I called Bingo, I helped with a big pot luck supper once a month,” she said.

Then several injuries and accidents made walking difficult.

“My back and knees are out. I can’t see well enough to cook. How could I take care of my clients?” she said.

Being unable to work is only part of the problem.

For Bradley, routine health care or even a visit to a doctor is out of reach.

She said she applied for some state health care assistance programs but is ineligible for any of them.

Too young to qualify for social security benefits which include Medicare health assistance and unable to afford private health insurance, Bradley said she’s starting to give up hope.

“I used to go out and do a lot of things. Now I hardly ever go anywhere,” she said.

She said she applied for indigent care through North Texas Medical Center.

The hospital does provide a limited amount of care for county residents with very low incomes.

But again, Bradley said she did not qualify for the local program.

“They told me I am eligible for what’s called charity care, but that’s limited to emergency room visits,” she said.

Charity care patients receive assistance for acute medical situations.

It does not pay for routine checkups or services such as eye glass prescriptions, she said.

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