Over the past 23 years I have been lucky enough to have great health coverage and benefits from being a dependent on my parents’ plan. When I was 12 years old I was “lucky” enough to experience what it was really like to be a woman, and it was painful. My father spent many months taking me to the E.R. with both of us assuming that I was some sort of freak-girl, until finally an OB/GYN prescribed a birth control that eliminated the pain.

Because of the health insurance my father receives, I only have to pay $5 a month for my pills, which has been quite the blessing. Not only that but my bi-annual trips to the OB/GYN were affordable for my family. I found myself luckier than some girls I knew who were always struggling when it came to receiving safe, reproductive health care.

This past December I received my Bachelor’s degree and alongside the excitement of being a college graduate, panic struck. Come June, I will have to begin paying back my student loans. Jobs haven’t exactly been thrown at me either, which is why I am thankful for the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

The law states that someone like me can be covered under his/her parents’ health insurance until s/he is 26 years old. This gives me three extra years to find a great job that offers health insurance, without having to worry about losing my insurance if I move out of state for work or school. In the meantime, I only have to worry about getting my loans paid off, and not about how to afford or obtain health care. This means I can stay on a pill that works for me, and (hopefully) send in larger payments than if I had to pay for my pills out-of-pocket or obtain health insurance on the individual market.

I’ll also benefit from the law in some other ways as well – my annual wellness visit (and other females across the country) to the OB/GYN will no longer have a co-pay, same with my birth control, which means more money in my bank account to get those loans taken care of earlier than expected. I’m also guaranteed direct access to my doctor because insurance companies are no longer allowed to require a referral to an OB/GYN.

While I hope to have a job with benefits by the time I turn 26, it is a weight lifted off of my shoulders, as well as other graduates knowing we have time.

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