Insurance, Preparing for Incidents

Congratulations Da-Hyun Kim for being the winner of microscholarship #1! Writing about her experience with health insurance in the United States won her $100. Read her winning essay here.



The above photo was taken right after my motorcycle ride. The friend who took the photo didn’t know I just burned my skin. I tried to smile, but I was crying inside.

In fall 2011, I attended an international student orientation held by my college, Portland Community College. Frankly, my first impression of hearing about the college’s insurance system didn’t remain in my memory. The only thing I am sure is that it was a lot of information to process and remember, for me who barely knew what bus to take to safely go back to home.

Later, I wasn’t again happy about the fact that I needed to pay $256 on top of the expensive tuition. I even went to see my advisor to ask about the possibility of terminating my insurance. As I was assured that I was a healthy human-being, I explained her how I hadn’t had a cold for the past year and how I was positive about not being sick for next few years. My advisor took a minute and shared a story of a Chinese boy who was in the heaven. She said how he got into a bicycle accident that took his life. Because he had the insurance, all the fees including air-plane tickets for his parents were covered. It made me to think for a while, but then I again forgot about the importance of paying $276.90(as it increased) for insurance until I got into an accident.

During the summer, my left calf got burnt by an insanely hot motor of a motorcycle. It all happened in a second. The scar was my fist size. It was gross, nasty and it hurt. The worst part was that I could see my pinkish inner flesh. Although I knew I had insurance, I refused to go see doctor because I had a misconception of hospital ripping off patients. I bear the pain for a week. I ended up limping and unable to stand. My coworker took me to a hospital by force (I was crying on my way because I did not want to have big bill), and surprise! They cured me and help me to walk after few days. I awesomely only paid about $50 for antibiotics. After the incident I had few friends get sick for various reasons, such as appendicitis or car accidents. They ended up with the bill of over $20,000, but guess what, the insurance covered almost 99%.

My opinion of my college’s insurance system is very positive. If they did not make it mandatory, I wouldn’t even bother to have insurance. Then I am sure I would have ended up with a debt for paying medical expenses. We never know what will happen tomorrow or even an hour later. Having insurance is a way to prepare for any incidents. Nothing is worse than being sick in a foreign country; therefore, having backup solution is the best!

Da-Hyun Kim is from South Korea studying at Portland Community College. Her winning essay will be featured in the Spring 2014 issue of International Student Voice Magazine, shipped to universities across the United States.

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Topic for microscholarship #2: The Friendly, Local American

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