Brittany, Joplin

Brittany is 23 and lives in Joplin, where she attends college full-time and works part-time as an educator at a local clinic. Brittany has been uninsured since she was 15 or 16, being raised by a single-father who struggled to afford health insurance. When Brittany was a freshman in college, she experienced multiple sexual assaults from her then-partner. After the relationship ended, Brittany faced the lasting emotional and physical impacts of those assaults. She was experiencing nausea, abdominal pain, fatigue, and other uncomfortable symptoms as a result. While back home in Tulsa for the summer, she had a visit with a gynecologist at the OU Physician’s Center. There she was treated with a birth control implant, Nexplenon, to help address her symptoms. Since then, Brittany has had to undergo surgery to remove ovarian cysts – a procedure that was partially covered through the hospital’s financial assistance program, the rest of which she has been making payments on. The Nexplenon implant, however, is supposed to be removed within three years. Brittany, still being uninsured, does not have a primary gynecologist she can visit for removal. She made an appointment to have it removed for a couple hundred dollars at a reproductive health clinic in the area, where she was led to believe she could keep the implant in for another year, so she did not have it removed at the time. After doing some research into whether or not the implant is safe to keep in, she worried that she had been misinformed and began looking for an affordable provider in the area who could remove the implant – but this has been difficult to do without insurance. Brittany is not sure of the impact keeping the implant in past its expiration can have on her health, and is eager to have it removed by a health care provider. If Missouri expanded Medicaid, Brittany and other low-income college students like her would have access to health care coverage, and she could have had the issue addressed in a timely matter. “Being uninsured has taken away my peace of mind. Not only has it impacted my health, but it’s hard to be seen as ‘lazy’ because I’m uninsured – especially since there have been times when I’ve had three jobs to help pay for school.”