Laura Bocel

"I came to the United States from Colombia with my parents as a child. I was granted Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) in 2012, when the program first began. I am currently 25 years old. Despite working hard and going to school, I am living in New York City without health insurance coverage.
As a college student with newly acquired work authorization, I began waitressing to support myself. The income earned from my waitressing job helped me to cover my monthly expenses, but I also learned that I am over income to qualify for Medicaid. As a DACA recipient who is ineligible for Medicaid, my options are limited. My employer does offer health insurance, but my premium would be close to $500 per month and DACA recipients are categorically ineligible for the N.Y. State of Health Essential Plan. If I want health care coverage, my only option is to make less money in order to qualify for Medicaid, which means that I am unable to cover my rent and other expenses. As a result, I remain uninsured.
My situation is very stressful because I worry about what will happen if I become sick. I would not be able to afford services or treatment. A greater concern is that I have not had any preventative care services in years. I feel that the longer I am uninsured the greater my health risks become. I would happily pay my share if I were eligible for the Essential Plan. It would be a more affordable and desirable option to paying private doctors or losing income to qualify for Medicaid. I support the Coverage4All Campaign and expansion of health care coverage in New York because it would give me and other Dreamers affordable options."