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Mar 28, 2014 9:34 PM by LiLi Tan, KSBY News

Once homeless, now has healthcare

David Chevalier-Morgan says he wouldn't be alive today without health insurance.

"As I got sicker, I ended up in a coma for six months. I didn't know how I was going to pay for any of this," said Chevalier-Morgan, who was homeless just last year.

After he lost his job as a tow-truck driver, he and his wife and two children lived in the brush behind a liquor store in Oceano. It was there that a spider bit Chevalier-Morgan, who then went to the emergency room. There, doctors also diagnosed him with type 2 diabetes.

"I didn't know how I was going to pay for any of this," said Chevalier-Morgan, whose hospital bill was close to $400,000.

Healthcare advocates stepped in and signed him up for insurance through the Affordable Care Act. Because Chevalier-Morgan had no income, he qualified for Medi-Cal, free health insurance for people with low or no-income.

A case manager with Community Health Centers says the an individual who makes less than $15,860 per year, a family of two under $21,400, family of three with less than $26,950, and up from there, qualifies for Medi-Cal.
Those who make slightly more still qualify for subsidies under the Affordable Care Act.

"It's actually really affordable," Community Health Center's Joseph Gossner said. "The lowest cost I've seen was actually $6 per month. The average is right around $20 to $35 a month. Then again, I've also seen it as high as $400 a month for somebody who doesn't have children, is single and is making a substantial amount of income."

According to Covered California, 850,000 additional Californians are now eligible for Medi-Cal in 2014.
"We've seen a huge influx of Medi-Cal patients because they now qualify," Gossner said.

Chevalier-Morgan calls the program a "lifesaver." His wife is working now, and he and his family are living in a motel until they can find permanent housing.

"It's been a long haul," Chevalier-Morgan said. "This healthcare issue... I would not be here right now if it was not available to me."

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