The Commonwealth Fund has published Sociology Professor Susan Sered’s extensive report on the personal experiences of people with and without health insurance.

Susan Sered

Sered’s research involved people who did not have health insurance 12 years ago, and her study looks at how these people are faring now that the Affordable Care Act has expanded their options.

The “Faces of the Newly Insured” report is based on long-term research and includes video interviews with five of the people who were part of the study.

“In 2003, all five seemed stuck in spirals of deteriorating health, low-wage employment, and medical debt, with no obvious way forward,” she writes. “The Affordable Care Act has opened several paths forward….Yet all live with the repercussions of having been uninsured for long periods.”

Their stories are captured in text and video.:

  • Taneila, who has diabetes, aged out of her parents’ health insurance, and complications resulting from inadequate health care forced her to drop out of college. Video
  • Cindy has a seasonal job in education that results in loss of insurance during the summer, posing problems for herself, and her husband’s insurance doesn’t cover all the health needs of her son, who was born with a CMV infection. Video
  • Laura feared she would lose her home after she was hospitalized after being misdiagnosed with a heart attack. Video
  • Joyce has had health insurance since 2014 through the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion, but she was without coverage for 23 years due to a job change necessitated by her health. Video
  • Marcellus injured his knee, tearing cartilage and sparking an infection, but he did not have the $100 down payment required to have surgery to correct the torn cartilage. He has suffered from a host of other medical problems that have gone untreated, but even so accumulated $47,000 of medical debt. He now receives health insurance through both Medicare and Medicaid. Video

Full report 

Photographs by Adam Cohen,