The Affordable Care Act has provided a valuable opportunity for women to find quality, affordable health insurance. During the first open enrollment period, 54% of the millions who got covered were female. In communities across the country, women played a critical role in spreading the word about the new health care options to their friends, family, and neighbors. Here are some of their stories:
Whitney Litzner — Shelby, MI
Whitney is a 26-year-old who recently finished her Master’s in Public Health. Without the option of her parents’ insurance when she turned 26 in March, she estimated that the prescription costs alone for managing her Type 1 diabetes would cost more than $35,000 a year. Before the Marketplace opened last October, the Litzner family made a list of insurance companies to apply to, knowing she would be losing their coverage. Six of seven companies denied her because of her pre-existing condition, and the seventh refused to pay for the treatment she needs to manage her diabetes. When the Marketplace opened, Whitney found a comprehensive Gold tier plan that’s cheaper than all of her previous options. Whitney was so grateful for the coverage she found that she became a Navigator so she could help others get enrolled in affordable health coverage.
Kellie Jean Roberts — Dayton, OH
The security of health care coverage allows Kellie to pursue her studies in social work free of concern that sickness or an accident might get in the way of her career. As she prepares to graduate with her bachelor’s degree in a month, she will have security knowing she can continue her clinical social work internship as she looks toward a full-time position with coverage. When Kellie was unexpectedly hospitalized in early February, she secured Medicaid coverage in Ohio on the spot with the help of a Certified Application Counselor. As a full-time student at 22 years old, she says that this emergency could have meant thousands of dollars in medical bills, possibly keeping her from finishing her degree on time because of financial concerns. Instead, she was able to receive treatment that didn’t keep her from the degree she’s worked so hard for. Kellie is using her enrollment experience as an opportunity to tell others about their new options under the Affordable Care Act. Just this past week, her class organized an enrollment workshop for the Dayton community and she hopes she can help others realize the importance of coverage before it’s too late.
Reinette Batson — Newport, North Carolina
As a cancer survivor, Reinette didn’t need to be convinced of the importance of purchasing health coverage. Unfortunately, her pre-existing conditions and part-time employment kept insurance just out of her reach. When she tried to enroll online by herself, she just couldn’t get through. After talking with Get Covered America at a tabling event, she received a few phone call reminders from our volunteers, and then made an appointment with a navigator. The third time someone from Get Covered America reached out to Reinette in January, she was eager to share the news of her enrollment and coverage that began in February. She chose a silver tier plan with a $500 deductible and a monthly premium that cost her next to nothing thanks to the financial assistance she is eligible for. After her appointment, she Xeroxed her navigator’s business cards and handed them out to friends. Reinette says, “If I can do it, everyone can do it. There is just no excuse not to anymore.”
Mary Taft — Waco, TX
At 63 years old, Mary has gone a decade without health insurance. In her last job as a teacher, she felt lucky to have benefits like health insurance. But since leaving that position, Mary pays the bills part-time as a home health worker and insurance has always been just out of reach. Her son found himself in a similar position. He’s 33 years old and takes classes while working part-time without employer benefits. With the encouragement of Get Covered staff and some research on her own, Mary selected a silver plan that best fit her budget at just $62 a month with the tax credit she receives. Mary also helped her son separately purchase the very same policy as her for just $20 a month. In the meantime, Mary volunteers to table at the local library twice a week where she uses tools like the Get Covered Calculator to show her neighbors the savings found in the Marketplace.
Wanda Mills — Coatesville, PA
Wanda found a plan on the Health Insurance Marketplace for less than $5 a month after learning about her options at a tabling event in her community last fall. She received a follow-up call in December from a volunteer who also worked as a Certified Application Counselor and arranged to meet at Wanda’s house where the volunteer helped her complete her application on the spot. Wanda has already used her coverage for preventive screenings and even convinced her son to get covered as well.