“We were all let go right away when events were canceled,” Jorge says. He was able to eke out a living caring for an elderly patient. When that temp job ended, he filed for unemployment compensation and food stamps to get by.
“I don’t have health insurance, though and, even if I’m careful – wearing a mask and in quarantine– I’m scared I could get the virus,” Jorge says. “Where would I go?”
Jorge doesn’t qualify for Medicaid because Florida is one of just 12 states that have refused to expand the health care safety net program for childless adults. Only pregnant women, extremely low-income parents and persons with disabilities qualify for Medicaid.
Uninsured Florida residents depend on an underfunded public health care system, federally qualified health clinics, and charity hospitals that provide services for no or low cost, depending on income. Wait times for appointments are long, however, especially for specialists or surgeries and other services. And those with low incomes often can’t afford the co-pays and fees for basic services like blood work.