How I’ve Benefited from the ACA

How I’ve Benefited from the ACA January 14, 2017

Given the threat the Affordable Care Act faces today, I thought I’d start a thread for commenters to share how the ACA benefited them personally. I know from what I’m seeing on Facebook that that will likely be a large number of you. In the spirit of sharing, I’ll start.

When my children were very small, they were on Medicaid. Then our income rose, and we no longer qualified. The problem was that just before this happened my son was diagnosed with a condition that required surgery—to the tune of about $10,000. We couldn’t help being kicked off Medicaid any more than someone who was fired could help losing their company insurance—and so we were stuck with a preexisting condition and a $10,000 surgery.

Fortunately for us, this occurred shortly after the ACA’s preexisting conditions requirements went into effect. We purchased insurance for our children, to replace the Medicaid we no longer qualified for, and we were able to proceed with the surgery several months later. We still had premiums and deductibles to pay, but we at least we could get insurance—and with a reasonable price tag.

The second way the ACA helped us is a bit more peripheral. My husband and I needed insurance for our children only, because my we both had insurance through our academic positions. We could have gotten insurance for our children through our employer, but doing so would have been ridiculously expensive (this, my friends, is why graduate students need unions). So, when we were no longer eligible for Medicaid, we opted to get private insurance. There was just one problem.

For some reason, child-only plans were not a thing.

Yes that’s right—we found that we literally could not buy insurance for our children and our children only. Nowhere sold such a thing. We ended up buying insurance for my husband and children together, a family plan, even though my husband already had insurance. There was literally no other way to do it—until the Health Insurance Marketplace opened, that is. Once the exchange opened we switched to a ACA plan for our two children, and them only.

But these are small stories, in the grand scheme of things. That $10,000 surgery was expensive, but it’s not like it was a preexisting condition that racked a hundred thousand of dollars a year. Having to purchase an insurance plan with my husband on it even though we only needed insurance for my two children added to our monthly premium, but not outrageously. Some of you have stories that dwarf mine. Others of you may have stories that play out along similar themes.

Let’s make this thread a celebration of what the ACA did for us. Let’s hope it does not turn out to be its obituary.

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