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Nia's Story

College can be stressful. You apply. Pray you get accepted and determine how you’ll pay for it all. Each college experience is different. Some students will experience pressure at some point, but others have challenges outside the classroom.

Nia Harvin, a senior at Mississippi College, is a great student. She was selected to participate in a program in Boston as one of the top Mississippi high school scholars. Her academic acumen led to her receiving a scholarship to attend Mississippi College, where she is majoring in psychology. Even with her scholarship and help from her parents, Nia faces a significant financial burden as she strives to get her degree — she does not have health insurance.

Academic excellence will not excuse Nia if she suddenly falls ill, whether temporary or permanent. Currently, Nia has no health issues, but knowing that the flu, COVID, or disease could swoop in and bring her financial status to its knees is enough to make her feel sick and uneasy. But the fact of the matter is Nia cannot afford to be sick.

Although her mother has coverage through her job, Nia cannot receive any benefits because the plan does not extend to dependents. Consequently, Nia would have to pay for her health insurance, and it’s a significant burden. Between being responsible for college supplies and regular day-to-day expenses for food and personal needs, Nia’s funds are stretched thin, forcing her to decide between being insured for the month or buying the daily things she needs.

There are limited resources available for college students. Her college offers a health insurance plan for its students, but it is too expensive for Nia. She is unable to find health insurance.

At a time when Nia should be able to focus on her studies to get her degree and embark on her next steps in life, she has the constant burden and pressure of not being insured weighing on her, which has affected her before. In previous years, Nia tried to work while in college to pay for her coverage, but working on top of her various extracurricular activities weighed her down and reflected in her grades which didn’t match her lofty standards.

This year, however, Nia wants to focus on her studies so that her grades can be more reflective of all her hard work. That means she can’t afford to get sick because the cost of any care she receives would have to come out of her already stretched pocket. Nia urges lawmakers to protect the people of the state with the essential human need of healthcare. Simply provide people across the state with the insurance they would want for their children.