My mantra "Don't Get Injured:
No health insurance, but I have a plan: Vitamins & exercise, plus stay away fromtouch football
"I am uninsured."
Saying that aloud is something, but 46 million Americans like me repeat it constantly in a mantra — a reminder to not get injured.
President Obama's Health Care Reform bill allows one of the largest groups of uninsured Americans — young dependent adults (mainly college kids) — to stay on their parents' plan until they are 26. But my parents don't have insurance, so my insurance policy is to stay healthy.
If you are my age (21 going on 22) and are currently uninsured like me, you always try to be extra careful. I take preventative measures like exercising and eating healthy. But even working out at the gym or playing a game of two-hand touch football is a challenge. What would happen if I broke a tendon, ankle or toe just because some smart-ass decided to tackle me? I would basically not have a tendon, ankle or toe to use.
So why don't I get health insurance? The simple answer: I can't afford it.
I am still in college, which drains my funds and my time. Along with that comes attempts at a blue collar job that covers the essentials but doesn't pay well enough by the hour (most of the time with a 20-30 hour work week) for much of anything else. I have to balance the amount of time studying with anything else that happens to be in the mix. It's not that having health care is impossible, it's just currently not on the radar.
Being in college brought a negative correlation to my health as I gained a lot of weight. I ate as I studied and gained more than a "freshman 15." More like a "freshman 35" with drinking and eating all the time. I knew it was time to do something once I had to go out and gradually buy myself size 35 jeans. I'm normally a size 32.
After my sophomore year and discovering the joys of an adult beverage, I simply repeated the same routine of lifting weights and doing cardio to lose the pounds. It became monotonous and I had to try something else that could grab my interest. This time I began doing parkour on the weekends and the weight began to shed. Parkour is free, so I had no excuse to not try it.
Of course, trying this came with the expense of vomiting — don't eat dairy before working out — and insane soreness from the high-demanding discipline. Because of all the jumping and vaulting action, it feels as if you did a million squats after training for your first day; but of course, it was worth it once you finally climb a 12-foot-high wall with just your momentum and body.
Even though everyone else had abs and I was donning flabs when I started, I certainly progressed physically in this community that's open to everyone.
Of course another set back would be having an injury from vaulting off of walls and across gaps. I remember the first time I twisted my ankle from parkour, I thought "I hope nothing's broken." Nothing was and I can confidently say that everything, including my ankles (that have been broken more than three times in my life), are stronger because of the constant jumping action involved in parkour.
As a former fat kid (FFK), I have basically learned the essentials of staying healthy. Some of those tips involve not eating an entire New York pizza alone (always good advice). After losing the 35 pounds gained from attempting to be a biology major (science is stressful), my health has gotten better. I haven't been extremely sick in about year and a half.
Exercising two to three times during the week and avoiding highly-processed foods and taking vitamins have helped me stay well. This will sound like a herpes commercial, but I have been able to enjoy rock climbing, beach volleyball and various other activities I didn't dare take part in before.
I haven't found the need to see a doctor since losing the weight, but, of course, tomorrow isn't guaranteed.
New bill, new hopes
Hopefully, Obama's plan will provide some reasonable options to gain coverage. A recent Associated Press report states that "in 2011, an estimated 650,000 young people who would otherwise have been uninsured will gain coverage. Another 600,000 will benefit by switching from individually purchased policies to less costly, more comprehensive employer plans. The number with coverage will grow in 2012 and 2013."
So more of us could come out of hiding and instead, embrace the fact that we are uninsured and do something about it.
The way I understand the new bill, there is an option to op-out of health care; but in doing so, you will be charged $695 or 2.5 percent of your income. Then again, I don't know much about health care because I've haven't had it in years. When I lived in New York as a "child" (yes where I ate entire pizza pies), I received free Medicare for children.
I came to Texas when I was 17 and had no idea where to start to get health care. I remember trying once, but only being asked if I'd like the Spanish forms.
I'm hoping the premiums will be less expensive because the point of universal healthcare is for everyone to have access to reasonable insurance. Of course there are cheap clinics and other options for health care, but at this time in my life I can wait just a bit longer.
This year I"ll finish up college and I hope to find a job with a company that has a good health insurance plan. It would be nice to have dental work, cheap STD testing and be able to visit a doctor if I get hit by a rogue tackler.
Until then, I'll think twice about a game of touch football.
You don't want to line up across from this guy if you don't have health insurance: