By Bryan Lowry, Jason Hancock and Jonathan Shorman | March 29, 2020

As the single mother of a daughter with a congenital heart defect and compromised immune system, Melissa Dodge is taking every precaution she can to limit her exposure to COVID-19.

She’s cut her hours at the grocery store where she works in Derby, Kansas. When she comes home, she doesn’t touch any of her four children before changing her clothes.

Worries about illness aren’t new for Dodge, 35. She doesn’t have health insurance, and getting sick means having to calculate the risk of skipping a doctor’s visit versus paying out of pocket. The coronavirus pandemic has amplified those concerns.

“That has only increased that anxiety tenfold,” Dodge said. “The risk of getting exposed and having to manage that financially in the immediate aspect and also in the long-term as those bills start coming in… It’s a fear.”

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