Jul 25, 2010 10:43 PM by Jeannette Hynes
For the first time in her life, Mary Ann found herself without health insurance.
"I didn't know where to start to even locate where resources might be for me to be able to get assistance with my annual mammogram," says Mary Ann. News First 5 is not using Mary Ann's last name to protect her identity.
Mary Ann's company laid her off in the spring of 2008, right at the beginning of the economic downturn. Her personal health took a back seat.
"And so you put off some of those tests, which isn't a good thing, because those wellness checks are really that first line of defense in health care," says Mary Ann.
She says not having any kind of health insurance has weighed heavily on her.
"I hesitated for month to even begin to explore what resources there might be in the community. And my good friend said, ‘Mary Ann, you need to call United 211,'" says Mary Ann.
Mary Ann isn't alone. The Pikes Peak United Way 211 hotline has made 63,183 referrals for the 27,000 people using the information service. That 27,000 is a 10% increase over last year. Also, 41% of the people are first-time users, like Mary Ann.
She still waited to call, but when she did, 211 guided her to where she needed to go to get her wellness checkups.
"That lifted that burden from me mentally," says Mary Ann. "I would say, no matter how you are feeling if you're like me that you never thought you'd be in this position, don't wait six months like I did."
211 Colorado is a hotline available statewide. Dial 2-1-1 on your phone Monday through Friday during regular business hours to find information about assistance with basic needs, legal help, education, and health care.