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“It’s nice to have [health insurance] and not even have to use it.”

Ginger Keckler is a Kalamazoo resident who, as of three months ago, gained

comprehensive health insurance thanks to Healthy Michigan (Michigan’s version of the

Medicaid expansion enacted under the ACA). Ginger works at Goodwill Industries in the

commercial department, grading and hanging clothes, which is where her boss Kym Hollars

informed her about her probable eligibility for health care under the Medicaid expansion.

Ginger was on Goodwill’s health plan at that point, yet only dental and optical was covered

through her work. As she was interested in getting more inclusive health insurance, and was

definitely not interested in being fined, Ginger allowed Kym (a certified applications counselor)

to guide her through the enrollment process.

 

While deciding to enroll was a fairly easy decision, actually succeeding in the enrollment

process was another story. Ginger tried multiple times over the course of a few weeks to enroll

in an insurance plan online, but kept getting kicked out of the system due to computer and

website issues. Not only was being unable to successfully complete the application frustrating,

but “I panicked when it didn’t work,” Ginger said. Luckily, though, after a few frustrating

weeks, Ginger was able to successfully enroll in a new health insurance plan, and once the “sign-

up worked, [the enrollment process] didn’t take too long.” When asked how she chose the

insurance plan she did, Ginger laughed and said she picked the one “with the cheapest copay.”

Ginger gives Kym the majority of the credit for her newly insured health status, as not

only did Kym first tell her about the opportunity to gain health care, but guided Ginger through

the online enrollment process. “When I didn’t understand things, Kym filled in the blanks,”

Ginger reported. Kym was the one who encouraged Ginger to keep trying when her initial

attempts to enroll were deterred by faulty website issues. The level of credit Ginger ascribes to

Kym concerning her newly-insured health status underscores the importance of informed,

competent helpers during the application process in order to facilitate signing up for insurance

online. Additionally, the presence of navigators or CACs (certified applications counselors) is

especially helpful for those who work full time (like Ginger), as they don’t have the luxury of

enough free time to spend hours sitting in front of a computer dealing with problems that may

have come up when trying to enroll.

 

Thanks to now having quality health insurance, Ginger feels more secure about her health

in the future. As Ginger put it, “It’s nice to have [health insurance] and not even have to use it.”

While Ginger says, “I only go to the doctor if absolutely necessary; I hate needles,” she is glad

that the medications and shots she needs for her bad knee are now covered. Though clearly not

spending too much money was a concern, Ginger seemed confident she could pay her new plan’s

premiums well enough. Overall, Ginger was positive about gaining comprehensive health

insurance, and glad to have shared her story.

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