In October of 2020, Stephanie Collier’s life was full of challenges that seemed all but impossible to overcome. Debilitating cataracts in both eyes, no insurance and a loss of job due to COVID left her believing she didn’t have much of a future.
“I was living in a world of fog. It was dangerous to drive and no one wants to hire someone that can’t see,” said Stephanie. Since initially losing her job due to COVID, she has been hired back but only for 15 to 20 hours a week. Her income is not enough to cover her bills. Her family has helped but she knows she is going to have to get another job to become financially stable. Knowing things had to change, she decided to ask for help. “I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t want to ask for help,” said Stephanie. “But I knew if I could get my eyes fixed, I could get a better job.”
Stephanie’s cousin introduced her to Julie Barton, United Way THRIVE Coach and healthcare navigator to help get Stephanie the insurance she needed. “When I met Julie, I was down and not very nice. She cut through all of that. She was patient and she encouraged me,” said Stephanie. Julie shared HIP (Healthy Indiana Plan) information with Stephanie and helped her to get covered. Within a few days of getting coverage, Stephanie had a doctor’s visit and surgery for her eyes
“I can see and it’s because of Julie,” shared Stephanie, full of emotion. Being able to have the needed surgery on her eyes has given Stephanie hope for a better future. “I would have been homebound. I can see to get another job, I can drive with confidence, and I can enjoy everyday life.”
Stephanie is grateful for the new life having insurance has given her. Her next goals are to find stable employment where she can earn enough money to sustain herself and to take care of other health issues she neglected while without insurance. “I want to grow older and enjoy life,” she said.
Stephanie’s words of advice to others: don’t hesitate to ask for help. Don’t put it off. Take initiative. “You never know what is going to happen,” said Stephanie. “Miracles do happen.”