When we first talked with Keith Moens, he and his family were emerging from a long period without health insurance. Having signed up for health coverage through the newly-opened Health Insurance Marketplace, they were pleased to finally have coverage again. Now, a year later, they are happy with their Marketplace plan and have recently renewed it.
Before losing their jobs, Keith and his wife never had to worry much about health insurance. It was provided by their employers. Suddenly, they were faced with several untenable options: paying exorbitant premiums for COBRA, finding a private plan despite Keith’s wife’s preexisting condition, or living without health coverage and paying healthcare costs themselves on a limited budget.
The opening of the Health Insurance Marketplace marked a dramatic improvement for Keith’s family. In late 2013, Jillian Phillips from the Campaign for Better Health Care helped them find an affordable plan covering the care they needed. Because of new regulations under the ACA, no questions about previous medical history prevented them from buying their chosen plan.
Keith says that using the new insurance has also been a learning opportunity. Initially, the relatively high deductible on the plan was a cause for concern. But they’ve come to understand that many of the health services they use are considered “Essential Health Benefits”, which are covered under the ACA. They can also get most of their prescriptions filled with a small co-payment. Keith is pleased to report that they don’t spend anything close to their deductible and that their premium payment will actually be a little lower in the second year.
“It’s an immeasurable load off the shoulders to have health insurance again”, Keith says. “People who want to repeal the ACA have never lived without insurance,” and should “try going without insurance” to understand how difficult it is. Thankfully, his family no longer has to face the uncertainty of living without health care coverage.