On a Thursday afternoon, as he finished his shift as a donations sorter at Goodwill Industries in Kalamazoo, we met with Anthony Everson.Â Anthony had a warm smile and friendly demeanor when he greeted us in a back conference room, but soon grew serious as he discussed his struggles to gain health insurance through the Affordable Care Act.
Having suffered a heart attack at the time of the healthcare marketplaceâ€™s opening and subsequently receiving a considerably expensive hospital bill, Anthony decided he needed to apply for insurance. He remarked that tackling a three-week hospital bill means youâ€™ve, â€œgot to have help.â€ With the aid of a Certified Application Counselor, Anthony applied four separate times at the the healthcare.gov insurance marketplace. After selecting the silver plan with Blue Cross Blue Shieldâ€™s Blue Care Network, Anthony received notification of a pending status and was sent an insurance card a few weeks later. He felt secure that he would no longer have to confront high medical expenses alone.
Two months after receiving his card, Anthony scheduled an appointment with the Family Health Center to monitor his heart condition.Â He was informed that he was not found in the insurance system and therefore could not be covered for any costs. Anthony was once again unsure of his insurance status and back to what he calls â€œlimbo land.â€
With frustration, Anthony confesses, â€œI just donâ€™t know what else to doâ€. After the â€œrough experienceâ€ of four attempts to obtain insurance, with the last one appearing successful, he is at a loss for how to proceed with his healthcare needs. Anthony is also fearful of other health problems that may occur in the future, and receiving another expensive hospital bill: â€œI hope I can clear it up before something else happens to me.â€
While there are many positive stories of individuals who received insurance through the healthcare marketplace, it is important to acknowledge that some have frustratingly attempted to apply and have encountered insurmountable obstacles to receiving coverage.