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“You feel like a card carrying member of society again.”

Judy is a stay at home mother with two children, one in high school and the other in college. Her husband is self-employed and, before the ACA, at times they would struggle with the cost of their healthcare insurance.

I began by asking Judy what her experience was like when she tried to enroll. She explained how her experience in the beginning, when the healthcare website kept crashing, was extremely frustrating. They decided to wait to try again closer to the deadline; “We were hoping most of the issues would be worked out.” It continued to be a frustrating process, until they read on a comment board that anyone still having problems should create an entirely new account. She stated, “It would have been helpful for this information to have been more readily available.” After that though, the website was effortless, intuitive and impressive. Comparing plans was easy and informative and the private insurance policies offered were affordable and comprehensive.

I then asked how she felt the ACA would impact her family. She explained how the relief of having a comprehensive insurance policy is immense. She stated, “You feel like a card carrying member of society again.” She explained how the possibility of a more serious health issue doesn”t mean feeling as if there are no options. During the period that insurance on the individual market became unaffordable for her family, they began to fully understand what it was like for so many others, who couldn”t afford the luxury of private insurance or whose jobs didn”t provide coverage or offered only limited policy coverage. She highlighted this by saying “You don”t go to the doctor, or go only when absolutely necessary. Unless it is your child, you ignore symptoms that could indicate a serious health issue, because you have no way to pay for the care, even if it were.” She also stated, “You decline what would normally be considered necessary lab tests upon the recommendation of urgent care doctors who correctly assume that the cost of the lab work will be unaffordable to someone who is self-pay.” She went on to say how “you understand more fully the tragedy of those who were unable to secure health insurance due to pre-existing conditions.”

After talking about how the ACA has directly affected her family I moved on to asking her thoughts on how the ACC will affect the country as a whole. She stated, “I believe that the Affordable Care Act is a very good thing for our country and hopefully a first step to single payer.” She went on to explain how she thinks private insurance companies will continue to have a responsibility to maximize profit for their shareholders, as their primary goal. As long as this is the case, it will always include looking at ways to deny or restrict coverage. The Affordable Care Act will prevent many of the ways that insurers used to do this, but she states “one only has to look at the notices that were sent out by several of the private insurance companies encouraging their clients to purchase higher cost ACA compliant policies, without informing them that they might find more affordable policies on the exchanges.” This, she felt, was an example of how insurance companies are both benefiting from the millions of new clients that the Affordable Care Act delivers and yet still not always acting in good faith.

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