I am a statistic – one of the 26,000 Americans who have successfully enrolled in a new health care policy at healthcare.gov. As an adjunct professor at a community college, I must provide my own health insurance as it is available only to full-time employees. I am also a cancer survivor.
Clearly my options before the enactment of the Affordable Health Care Act were nonexistent. I had to swallow every change and premium increase my provider made each year, thankful I had any insurance at all.
Shopping for health care insurance can be a complex endeavor. Aware of the negative press the new website attracted, I took a deep breath and typed healthcare.gov into my browser. After creating an account, I was on my way to exploring what plans were available and my eligibility. Navigating the website was not the least bit difficult. Plans were easy to compare side by side. There was also lots of help available – both by phone and live chat. The policy I chose was not only comparable, it was better than the one I had and much less expensive!
I urge people to see firsthand what is offered on the healthcare.gov marketplace. They will be pleasantly surprised. Many will find themselves eligible for substantial assistance. Criticism of “Obamacare” and the website has been blown way out of proportion – a media frenzy created by those bent on discrediting and destroying a program designed for the good of everyone, not just the privileged few.
Though I’m paying for maternity benefits I will never use in addition to not having the proper anatomy for erectile dysfunction remedies and prostate exams, I feel satisfaction knowing that my participation will also enable children whose names I’ll never know to have dental, hearing and vision benefits in addition to basic health care. That’s the beauty of being part an insurance pool: We’re all in it together.
As citizens, we have a responsibility to take care of ourselves and our family. To those who have gone without health insurance because of expense, this is affordable and dependent on your particular financial circumstances. Non-participation in the Affordable Care Act because you don’t think you’ll need it is irresponsible. I never thought I’d get cancer, either. Non-participation by many states including North Carolina is beyond absurd – and cruel to those who need it most.
Lynette Miller lives in Black Mountain.