I live in Kearny, AZ in eastern Pinal County, with my six-year old daughter Sophia. Our community is small, good jobs are hard to come by, and healthcare resources scarce. We live here because it’s home. After my divorce I needed a place that was safe for my little girl. A place where family and community could surround Sophia with love.
When I was married, health insurance wasn’t an issue. Sophia’s dad served in the military and we had the best care ever. After he left the military that all changed. Only he had an option for insurance coverage through the VA. Wow! That was a surprise. We really didn’t know how we would pay for health care.
After my divorce and my move to Kearny, I applied for AHCCCS to ensure that we would have medical coverage in case we needed it. Let me tell you, applying for AHCCCS isn’t easy. Fortunately, I have great computer skills and comprehend complex information well. I can’t imagine how people without good computer skills navigate through the application process.
I recently landed a job in the gaming industry. Yes! I finally have a job, but it is only part-time and pays very little. I am barely able to make ends meet. Thanks to AHCCCS, I don’t have to worry about choosing between paying rent or health insurance.
Through AHCCCS Sophia and I can visit a local primary care physician, but if we need any specialty care, we must travel far to find a doctor. Sadly, while AHCCCS provides some dental coverage, there are no local dentists who accept AHCCCS patients. Even if it is an emergency. I’ve had issues with my wisdom teeth for two-years and I’m still waiting for AHCCCS to approve a referral. When and if they do approve my request, I will have to take time off from work and travel nearly 100 miles to the Phoenix area, where there is a dentist who accepts AHCCCS patients.
Sometimes I hear people say AHCCCS is a hand-out. But for me and Sophia it is a hand-up. It means if there is a medical emergency or illness, we can at least see a primary care physician and in most cases obtain prescriptions to help us get better. It also means we can keep the electricity on and have food on the table.
For now, AHCCCS provides peace of mind, not having to worry about health insurance lets me focus on the big picture. I work hard every day, I enjoy every minute I have with Sophia and just like many in rural Arizona, I’m constantly looking for a better job and greater opportunities.