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Oklahoma Watch: Uninsured Oklahomans -- Single mom says she has to choose between food and health care

Christy Johnson, an Oklahoma single mom, has been uninsured for four years but could get health care under the Affordable care Act, or Obamacare.
BY WARREN VIETH Oklahoma Watch Published: September 22, 2013

Christy Johnson

• Age: 38

• Location: Oklahoma City

• Occupation: long-distance customer service rep

• Estimated 2014 income: $18,720

• Estimated silver plan premium: $188 per month

• Estimated bronze plan premium: $130 per month

Christy Johnson is mildly anemic, but she puts up with it.

She hasn't had health insurance for the past four years. She stays away from doctors and clinics because money is tight, and she'd rather buy food than medicine.

Johnson, 38, is a single mom. Her 13-year-old daughter is covered by Oklahoma's SoonerCare program, but Johnson makes too much to qualify.

Johnson works full time for $9 an hour as a customer service representative for a small telecommunications provider. Her employer doesn't provide health insurance.

She hasn't shopped for insurance because she figures it's out of reach financially.

“I don't know why it's so expensive,” Johnson said. “It becomes a problem, because it's either food or health care.”

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, Johnson should be able to buy a “silver” health plan in the Affordable Care Act insurance marketplace next year at a net cost of $188 a month, after tax credits are taken into account. A less-generous “bronze” plan would cost her $130.

Because she is a smoker, Johnson would pay more than a nonsmoker for her coverage. According to Kaiser, a nonsmoker with the same income, age and family status would pay only $31 a month for a silver plan and $0 for a bronze plan, after tax credits.

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