AHCCCS(Medicaid) programs assist students like Ray Cruz in pursuing a higher degree

Ray Cruz is a healthy 21-year-old studying at Arizona State University. But a few years ago, he realized how important it is to have health insurance even for healthy, young adults like him. He was 19 when he got sick and had to go the emergency room. He was given medication and then sent home. Three weeks later, he got a $12,000 bill in the mail.

Cruz was shocked because he didn’t think he’d be charged for the emergency room visit.

He had health insurance under the Young Adult Transitional Insurance (YATI), which is a program through AHCCCS that covers young people who aged out of foster care. The health insurance covers them until they turn 26. Ray had been dropped from the program. With the help of his caseworker, he re-enrolled and was able to get the emergency room visit covered. “It ended up working out,” he said. “But the amount of stress that it created for me at that moment was unreal.” He added that having health insurance through the YATI program allows him to live worry free and to focus on finishing his business communications degree. He graduates from ASU in December. “This health insurance allows me to focus on what’s important right now,” he said. “I’m a full-time student at ASU, and I’m just trying to focus on school right now. If I had to worry about getting sick and needing to go to the hospital, that’s something else I’d have to put on my plate.”

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