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Shortly after I emancipated from foster care, I lost my MediCal. For the past two years, I’ve paid my medical expenses out of pocket. But I didn’t actually need to.
I work at a gym doing maintenance, IT and sales. When my glasses shattered, I went to work blind for 10 months. I strained to make eye-contact with people just 20 feet away. I couldn’t tell if a surface was dirty or not. Finally, I paid 400 dollars for new glasses that didn’t irritate my skin allergy.
I could have spent that money on electricity bills or groceries — costs that are often hard to cover. Most importantly, I could have saved it to buy a car, and cut down my long bus commute.
The Affordable Care Act recently made it possible for former foster youth like me to qualify for free MediCal until we’re 26. But very few people know about this benefit. Even I haven’t gotten around to signing up yet, because the paperwork seems so daunting.
It feels like transitioning into adulthood requires a lot of insider knowledge. By getting the word out about free health care, we can help newly emancipated foster youth achieve financial stability in their futures.