You probably know someone who doesn't have health insurance -- officials estimate there are about 800,000 people in Maryland who don't have it.
Charles "Pops" Wilks is one of them.
He grew up in East Baltimore, graduated from Poly, and worked for a local company. And for the past eight years he's been a fixture at the Jiffy Lube in Pikesville.
“People stop by, wondering what happened to pops, where's he, when he got sick it was devastating. He's family,” said John Way, the owner of the business.
Pops made enough money to get by, but not enough to purchase the health insurance offered by the franchise.
Then earlier this year, his health started to fail.
“I was feeling weak and at the time I didn't know why,” he said.
“We kept asking if he was going to go to the doctor but not having any insurance he was reluctant to do that,” said co-worker Emily Martin.
Finally, in May of this year Pops did visit the doctor.
He was diagnosed with prostate cancer that had already spread to his spine, along with kidney failure.
It's terminal. But Pops has more immediate concerns.
“I'm used to working,” he said. “I'm used to having a paycheck, well what happens when the paycheck ends?”
He would find out soon enough.
Doctors at the University of Maryland Medical Center began treating Pops for free. All hospitals in Maryland can treat patients who can't pay; they get reimbursed by the state agency that determines the rates hospitals can charge.
But Pops no longer has any income, and he still has a rent payment, a power bill and now prescriptions to buy -- with no insurance to defer the cost.
Co-workers helped him apply for medical assistance and Social Security Disability benefits. That's when they learned there is a five month waiting period until those benefits kick in.
“I asked her how that could be possible and she goes 'you just need to wait your turn like everybody else,'" Martin said.
The waiting period is designed to ensure benefits aren't paid to people who don't have long-term disabilities. In Pops' case the delay could lead to the loss of his home.
“I'm not sure how much longer he'll be able to stay at the place he can stay, not paying rent, it's almost like the system wants him to be homeless and on the street before it will even happen,” Martin said.
That's why they've been collecting donations on line and at the Jiffy Lube, along with other businesses in Pikesville.
And they're hoping in the future some exceptions can be made so that disability payments might come in time for victims of severe injuries and illness to benefit from them.
“My biggest fear is not for myself, it's for the people who've got to go through this tomorrow, because it doesn't end with me,” Wilks said.
Officials with the Maryland Hospital Association say if the Affordable Care Act -- better known as "Obamacare" works as its intended, that number of uninsured people in Maryland should go down.
Copyright 2013 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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