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Thank Goodness for Pushy Dads: My #GetCovered Story

By LaNika Wise

On a chilly December evening, as I was healing from a volleyball-related mild concussion, my dad came into my room and said: “Don’t you think it’s time you looked into affordable health insurance?”

He had urged me many times before to get covered, but I thought I was invincible.  I’m 34 and have lived a healthy lifestyle. I thought if I ate my vegetables and drove defensively, I’d be okay. In October, in November, and into December, he pushed me to look into my options. I made a few half-hearted attempts to satisfy him, but I never took it seriously. Fortunately for me, his motto is, “Persistence beats resistance!” and he never gave up.

I was born and raised in Flint, Mich. After graduating from Michigan State University, I was no longer covered by my parents’ health insurance. The idea of purchasing my own was nowhere on my radar because I didn’t think I needed it.

Chasing my dreams, I moved to Los Angeles to try on different careers. I worked with a celebrity stylist, created a clothing line with my brother, and began acting. Feeling a spiritual calling to be closer to home, I returned to Flint and pursued an acting career in the Metro Detroit area. With auditions and bookings so infrequent, I had to find part-time jobs—including a junior varsity volleyball coach position.

With all of this uncertainty, my income frequently fluctuated; one day I was covered under the county’s health plan, and the next I was kicked off. Going from insured to uninsured was exhausting, and I finally gave up.  I’ve been uninsured for most of the past 10 years.

I realize now what a dangerous gamble that time in my life was. I didn’t think about accidents or illnesses. I didn’t even think about a benign lump in my right breast that I had removed years ago under my parents’ insurance. I never considered what I would have done if a lump had returned. I was living on the edge, one mishap away from a financial disaster!

Maybe the concussion knocked some sense into me, but I finally listened to my dad.

I logged onto Healthcare.gov and enrolled in a Silver plan that includes dental. And since I qualify for a reduced premium, the plan costs less than $100 a month.

A burden I didn’t even realize I was carrying was lifted off of my shoulders!

I received my health insurance card on my mother’s birthday, January 2nd. What a great gift to us all! My parents and I now have the peace of mind knowing that I have affordable, quality insurance. I can go anywhere and pursue my dreams because I have the confidence of knowing that I am covered.

I strongly encourage all young adults to visit the Health Insurance Marketplace at HealthCare.gov before open enrollment ends March 31 —even if, like me, you think you’re invincible. It’s easy and your options may be cheaper than you think.

I won’t say that parents always know best, but I have to admit that signing up has been a breath of fresh air. I’m so glad mine never gave up. Thanks, Dad!

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