Kansas Stories Podcast: Shannon Spear

Shannon Spear, McPherson, has spent most of her adult life uninsured. It has impacted her in a number of harmful ways. Getting appointments with a doctor was difficult—and when she could get them, they cost her well over $100 each time. Without access to affordable care, her asthma went untreated, which affected her ability to find and keep a steady job. Her family struggled to cope.

The scariest experience for Shannon was a car accident, after which she needed surgery on her arm. Instead of focusing on getting better, she worried about paying for the medical bills. She currently has metal in her arm that is not covered for removal. Shannon says this will cause more arthritis problems as she ages.

Since she had no insurance, Shannon also put off mammograms for about eight years. She wishes that she had access to these services sooner. It worried her that she put off preventive care for so long. Shannon believes that “nobody should be charged outrageous prices” for medical services, and she wants better options for Kansans.

“There are things that I avoided doing because I knew I didn’t have the money for it,” Shannon says.

Because she went so long without coverage, Shannon has thousands of dollars in medical debt. Recently, she has been able to afford insurance for herself, but it’s expensive. She is still struggling to manage the costs of her health care.

KanCare expansion would help people like Shannon afford preventive health care, so that illnesses and injuries don’t go ignored and don’t grow into more life-threatening issues. Increased access to health insurance means a healthier Kansas.

If you have a story about living in the coverage gap, contact Storybank Fellow Marissa Alcantar at marissa@expandkancare.com.