Many Oklahomans struggle to get by without health insurance

They are forced to make decisions about whether to buy medicine or pay the electric bill.
BY ANN KELLEY Published: September 29, 2010

"Basically I've decided I'll have to suck it up and live with it," Nellius said.

Insurance meant vaccines cost more

Tami Hannah, 35, of Norman, said if she had preventive health care, her health would not be on the decline. Hannah said she suffers from chronic bronchitis and has four aching teeth.

"My biggest fear is that something is going to happen to me, and I'm not going to be able to take care of my kids," Hannah said. "But what am I supposed to do, stand out on a street corner and beg for spare change?"

Robyn Woody, 33, of Choctaw, said she and her husband, Bo, 40, are self-employed and at one time had major medical insurance to cover inpatient services. Woody said she canceled it because she felt they were being penalized for having it.

"When the receptionist at a pediatrician's office asked about insurance, I made the mistake of saying we only have major medical," Woody said. "Because we had some form of insurance we didn't qualify for the state shots. Instead of paying $40 for my son's shots to start school it cost us $300."

Woody said they pay cash for office visits, but a private physician has turned them away because they didn't have insurance.

Matias Menis, 30, of Norman, said he grew up in Argentina where health care is available to everyone. He said he can afford $22 a month life insurance, but not health insurance.

"I'm surprised that Argentina, a third world country, places health care at such a priority for its people, but here in the United States there are so many people who can't access it," Menis said.

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