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Utah's Uninsured


The lack of insurance over many years leads to delayed diagnosis and longterm
debilitating diseases that are
expensive to treat (if they can be treated at all).
Fernando M., Age 55

Imagine living every day of your life with extreme pain in your legs and diminished eyesight. Fernando is living with the effects of having no insurance for most of his life—until he qualified for Medicaid a few months ago. Thanks to Medicaid, Fernando can have a long list of once treatable conditions accurately diagnosed. Unfortunately, not all can still be treated. Those that can will come at tremendous cost to the taxpayer. Fernando’s health problems started when he began fainting in school and was always dizzy. Then he developed sores and swelling in his legs, but he did not have any insurance so he ignored the pain.
No photo: subject prefers to remain anonymous

Avoiding medical treatment due to being uninsured…
Finally he received help at the free clinic where he was diagnosed with many life threatening health conditions. Fernando has diabetes, broniadema (eye condition causing blindness), and congestive heart failure; he recently had a heart attack but did not get the recommended follow up care. Fernando’s eye condition is caused by his diabetes and lack of preventive care. Now he is in constant pain and can barely see objects. He did not get care when he first started losing his vision because he had no money; when he finally got help at the clinic, it was too late to restore his eyesight.

Coverage for vision Services also essential…
If in the past Fernando had had insurance that covered vision services then he probably would not be partially blind or have many of the health problems he suffers from today. Preventative care is critical and necessary so people like Fernando don’t have to endure extreme pain every day. Soon, Fernando fears, he will no longer be able to work.


The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act helps individuals like Fernando in a variety of ways:

Starting immediately, Fernando eligibility levels for Medicaid cannot be reduced.
In 2011, states will receive incentives to offer home and community-based services, helping people like Fernando live in his home instead of an institutional setting.

In 2013, Medicaid payments for primary care services provided by primary care doctors increased, giving Fernando greater access to physicians than he has today

In 2014, Medicaid will be expanded to all individuals under age 65 with incomes up to 133% FPL.  In addition, adults cannot be denied coverage for pre-existing conditions nor can health premiums be rated based on health status.  Health plans will also not be able to impose annual or lifetime benefit caps.