Health Insurance Expiration Sets In For Strikers - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Health Insurance Expiration Sets In For Strikers

April 1st means "April Fools" to many, but for strikers like David Jones, the day was no joke.

"It's a little scary for everybody that's got preexisting illnesses. It's scary for everybody," pipe fitter David Jones says.

Dozens of workers at the picket line say they're not looking forward to the costs that comes from doctor's visits and medicine.

"It's quite expensive, if you're on pain medicine. Blood pressure medicine is very expensive," Insulator Benny Coleman says.

At a local pharmacy, some strikers are already feeling the pinch from expired insurance. Carlos Stringfield's two-year-old daughter has a cold.

"Running a high fever, running nose, just not feeling well," Stringfield says.

He hopes over the counter medicine will help. Otherwise, it's a trip to the doctor and a big medical bill.

"I'm not going to be paying a co-pay. I'll have to pay the children's clinic and come here and pay full price for the prescription. Pretty pricey, but hey, the Lord will provide," Stringfield says.

When the time rolls around for workers to pick up their prescriptions, they'll find the price is dramatically higher without insurance coverage. Pharmacy technicians say medicine can range from $16 to $300. That's a price some strikers say they can't afford to pay. 

"It's going to be devastating to a lot of people. They need their medicine. They're going to have to find other alternatives," Coleman says.

Strikers have the option of paying $810 for a COBRA health plan. But with contract talks set for Monday, some say buying in would be a hasty decision.

"I'm not really prepared to do the COBRA, but I have the money to go to a hospital or doctor, which would probably be cheaper than trying to pick up COBRA for a month," Jones says.

Until a new contract is approved, workers hope they can stay out of the pharmacy lines and keep their money in their wallets.

By Keli Rabon

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