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In the fall of 2019, Jennifer's youngest child started going to school full time. No longer needing to stay at home to care for her children, Jennifer was excited to get back into the work force and to finally have health insurance: something she hadn't had access to since her pregnancy six years ago.
But as she was in the process of looking for a job, COVID-19 hit the country, and Jennifer's four children were suddenly back home again. She had to give up her job search in order to homeschool her kids and she knows that she may have to continue homeschooling them for the upcoming school year.
Jennifer's husband has health insurance through his employer and her children have health insurance through Medicaid, which she is very thankful for. But it is too expensive for the family to add Jennifer onto her husband's plan, and with a household income of $37,000 a year for a family of six, their income is too high for her to qualify for Medicaid under current rules in North Carolina. This leaves Jennifer without any access to affordable health insurance coverage.
Recently, Jennifer noticed a lump inside her nose. When her older brother was 10 years old, he had a brain tumor, and Jennifer is afraid of what this lump could signify for herself. But without health insurance, she can't afford to see a specialist for it.
"It would mean the world to me to have health insurance," she said. "It would mean that the state I live in cares about me, too. My contribution to this country may not be millions of dollars but being able to get older with my children and raise my children to be good people is still a contribution."
Jennifer hopes for things to go back to normal, so she can enter the workforce again and send her kids back to school. But for now, that's out of her hands.
To protect her privacy, we have not used Jennifer’s real name.