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DENVER (KDVR) — Job losses caused by the pandemic have left millions out of work and out of health insurance coverage. An estimated 13 percent of Colorado residents who aren’t considered elderly have no health insurance. 

Arborist Dusty Snyder understands the struggle firsthand. Snyder tells the Problem Solvers he has an autoimmune condition, Type 1 diabetes and other illnesses. The cost for his medications alone total approximately $5,000 each month.

“It is swinging one hope rope to the other, it’s just trying to find relief,” he said. 

Snyder says his illness has interrupted his efforts to help those in need. He was honored to have the chance to assist those battling wildfires in California this summer. 

“It meant everything. The world needs so much help right now,” he said.

A recent lapse in his health means he won’t be going back. 

While Snyder receives some health care assistance, it will not cover the cost of life-saving procedures he will need, totaling nearly $100,000.

“It has ruled my life financially, physically and mentally for a long time,” he said.

A Families USA Health Insurance study shows the number of Americans without health insurance is 39 percent higher than at any other time on record.

The government, along with nonprofit organizations, are launching programs to provide help, especially during the pandemic.

Adam Fox of the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative tells the Problem Solvers, “we know a lot of people are struggling right now.”

He adds that anyone who is in need of assistance should explore programs on the organization’s website.

“If you don’t qualify for Medicaid, you may also qualify for financial assistance to get a new health insurance plan through Connect for Health Colorado.”

Those who currently have coverage regulated by the state will not be charged co-pays for COVID-19 testing. 

Fox explains, “If somebody is diagnosed with COVID-19 and doesn’t have health insurance, you can apply for Medicaid coverage at any time.”

Snyder hopes there will be better options so he and others can continue giving back.

“When they’re spending everything that they make on just staying alive, it adds a lot of stress” he said.

Friends of Dusty Snyder have set up a GoFundMe page to help with medical expenses.

For more information about available health insurance assistance, click here.