Vida Snyder and her husband have gone without health insurance for several years.
“We don’t get sick; we don’t believe in it,” the 51-year-old Redmond resident said, laughing. “We have a lot of kids. We don’t have time to be sick.”
But it’s been a struggle for Snyder, who has battled and continues to battle serious health issues: a nerve condition that required brain stem surgery three years ago. Breast cancer eight years ago.
The couple had the Oregon Health Plan, the state’s version of Medicaid, back when she had cancer, but they haven’t qualified in recent years. They looked into private insurance in December, but — like so many — determined they couldn’t afford the monthly premiums, especially not while Snyder’s husband was trying to start a flooring business.
“We were just like, ‘We’re going to have to take a hit,’ because we were still in feast and famine of trying to raise up a business,” she said.
Although her string of bad luck with health is unique, Snyder and her husband’s determination that they couldn’t afford health insurance is not. Even after the Affordable Care Act’s insurance mandate took effect at the beginning of 2014, about 5,700 Central Oregonians were still uninsured last year, or 2.73 percent of the Deschutes, Jefferson and Crook county populations combined, according to a February report by Oregon Health & Science University.