Health Care Blog
- Posted byon December 8, 2014 at 5:45 PM EST
"I'm a small business owner with my feet planted firmly on the ground. I am an American with many hopes and dreams and I know I will face many challenges ahead. But, now I have peace of mind and less anxiety about maintaining good health."
If you're driving through Council Bluffs, Iowa and you come across any large and beautiful murals on the side of city buildings, you may be looking at Cait's life work. Cait is the daughter of public school educators who encouraged her to use her "unique and natural born talents" to make her own way in the world.
But in her early twenties, Cait was dropped from her mother's insurance plan and there was no way she could afford her own insurance. Though she worked full time, none of her employers offered health insurance. "The few times that I needed to seek medical help, I went into major debt and had to opt for payment plans," she said. "Some of these bills took years to pay off. Even receiving basic preventive care seemed like a far off dream."
Now, thanks to the Affordable Care Act, Cait is free to make an even bigger dream a reality. Under the ACA, Iowa expanded its Medicaid program, and, at 34, Cait finally has the health insurance she needs to start her own business in community beautification. But her outlook expands far beyond the beauty of her work: "My vision is to build a successful organization that takes care of [its] employees while inspiring change and awareness through art."
- Posted byon December 8, 2014 at 3:21 PM EST
"I am a wife and mother to 2 young children, ages 6 & 10. I am recovering and alive because I had insurance."
Something didn't feel right, and Astrid knew it. But this 40 year-old mother of two young children was a self-employed Zumba instructor, and she didn't have insurance. She tried to go to a clinic, but she was often turned away. Finally in May of 2012, she saw a doctor who found the unthinkable: a brain tumor.
Without insurance, Astrid knew she couldn't afford to get the treatment she desperately needed. So she waited until the Health Insurance Marketplace opened in 2014 and finally was able to purchase insurance that would cover her medical costs. "Because of Obamacare, I was able to have the surgery I needed and the tumor was removed on August 28, 2014. Had I not had the surgery, the surgeon said the tumor could have killed me in another 2 years."
For a Zumba instructor, a half-marathon runner, and an active mother, the recovery has been hard. Now, she has to use a cane to walk and has partial hearing issues and facial paralysis. But she is grateful to have been able to get the treatment she needed and is taking her recovery one day at a time. "I am just so blessed," she said. "I don't know what would have happened to me. I am so grateful to God and to the [Affordable Care Act]. Everything was covered."
- Posted byon December 8, 2014 at 2:58 PM EST
"I just wanted to write you to say this: THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!! Without you and your Affordable Care Act, I would now be nearly $24,000 in debt with no way to pay for it."
It was a freak accident. After losing her job at a uranium enrichment plant in Paducha, Kentucky, April had landed a new job and just needed to be employed for 60 days to get covered by her new employer. But one day, she turned her ankle while walking down some steps. Not only did she dislocate her ankle, she broke her leg in two places. "I required surgery to repair my broken tibia and fibula and to put my ankle back in place," she said.
Fortunately, after losing her job at the plant, April bought a health care plan online through the Health Insurance Marketplace -- so she was covered when she fell.
"I received my hospital bill. It included the ambulance ride, the surgery, and my overnight hospital stay. The bill was $23,804.11," she said. "My 'Obamacare' insurance? It paid $22,576.55 of it."
Thanks to her health coverage, April can rest and heal without the looming debt from one literal misstep hanging over her.
- Posted byon December 8, 2014 at 2:28 PM EST
"If it weren't for [the Affordable Care Act], my family would be uninsured."
Anthony has spent his life working to help customers with their mortgages. He owned his own mortgage company for 20 years. But when banks started closing up shop, Anthony had to follow suit in 2011. He tried working for a few banks but felt that their "too big to fail" mentality translated into "too big to care."
So now he works for a business development manager for a mortgage broker, but his company doesn't offer health insurance. He was worried that he and his family would have to go uninsured. Thankfully, he checked New York's health exchange and realized he qualified for affordable health insurance.
- Posted byon December 8, 2014 at 12:09 PM EST
"My life has completely changed ... I can breathe deeply without coughing. I can walk to work without taking a break. I can play with my dogs. I can sleep through the night. I'm even working up the nerve to ride my bicycle. Only a few weeks ago, I felt like the best years of my life were long behind me. Today, I feel like I haven't begun to live."
- Posted byon December 5, 2014 at 6:55 PM EST
"His mother and I would have had to make the very cold calculation: Do we spend our own retirement savings on his medical care trying to extend his life, or do we cast him adrift to save what we can for our own later years?
Because, what company would have ever insured him without the ACA? Not one."
In March of 2013, Don and his family were dealt a devastating blow. His son Daniel, a hardworking 35-year-old, was diagnosed with brain cancer and had to have a tumor removed. Thankfully, he was covered by employer-sponsored health so his insurance covered most of the costs for his hospitalization, the surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and diagnostic MRI imaging. His medical care costs far exceeded $200,000, so Don and his family were grateful for the coverage.
But this May, Daniel lost his job -- the consequences of the cancer and operation make employment impossible for him. Don's family would have been forced to continue a very expensive coverage option available to unemployed workers for a limited time had it not been for the Affordable Care Act.
The Affordable Care Act prohibits insurance companies from discriminating against people with pre-existing conditions and provides affordable and quality coverage on the Health Insurance Marketplaces. And thanks to the ACA, Don was able to help his son sign up for a subsidized plan on the Marketplace that will pay 94% of his medical expenses, for a monthly premium of $45.