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Think Out Loud

Living Without Health Insurance

Pete Springer/OPB

Kristen Van Tuyl went hiking with her husband and six-year-old daughter recently. When they came upon a particularly treacherous part of the trail, Kristen hesitated. She doesn’t have health insurance, though her husband and daughter do. She says this was what was on her mind when she told her family to “go on ahead,” while she took a safer route and met up with them on the other side.

Living without health insurance is something millions of people face each day. The 2009 National Health Interview Survey showed 46.3 million Americans under 65 were uninsured. While these are the most recent figures, the number of uninsured Americans has been on the rise for years and it’s probably safe to assume that trend will continue as the economy continues to slowly recover from the recession. People have all sorts of reasons for not having health insurance, but cost is by far the biggest factor.

Are you living without health insurance? How does that affect your daily life? How do you get care when you need it? What kinds of tough choices have you had to make about whether or not to seek treatment for yoursel or your family?

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