Having health insurance is a great relief. It is scary living without health insurance. Sometimes you put things off because you think it will take a long time and be difficult, but this wasn’t like that.”
– Samantha H., Phoenix AZ
Samantha is a 59 year old woman who has spent nearly her entire marriage managing the health care of her husband who was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis(MS). After four years of marriage the couple learned that they would have to grapple with this unpredictable, and often disabling disease of the central nervous system. Because of this challenge early in her marriage, it is hard for Samantha to remember a time in her life when she has been able to put her health and well-being first on her list of priorities.
After the diagnosis, Samantha’s husband was accepted on disability insurance but Samantha did not have an employer to provide her with health insurance coverage. She works part time and for twenty years she has been without health insurance. Although she remembers looking into purchasing health insurance multiple times during that period of her life, her small income made the idea unrealistic. Looking back she says, “I was risking my health by putting it off. When the enrollment became available and I heard about the opportunity I thought this was doable, this is easy.”
There was no shortage of people willing to share their opinion with Samantha about the new Affordable Care Act when the legislation passed. In one instance Samantha courageously shared her enrollment experience with her skeptical friends and said, “I was impressed by the outreach and how easy they made it. I was really surprised at how easy it was and how cool it was that there were locations all over the valley to sit with facilitators. It just took a hurdle away for me…it was just really welcoming.”
We asked Samantha what advice she would give to individuals looking into health insurance plan enrollment and she was happy to comment. She encouraged, “Don’t think it’s going to be difficult. They are making it very, very easy and there are lots of people to answer questions and guide you. I think I was out of there in 30-40 minutes. I remember walking out after enrolling thinking ‘that was easy, why did I put this off for so long!’”
As we concluded our interview Samantha confessed, “Having health insurance is a great relief. It is scary living without health insurance.” She shared that she was so happy to finally be able to go receive a mammogram and take care of her own health, things that she previously thought she couldn’t afford. Samantha has faced many challenges and was glad that she finally made the decision to take care of her health. She reminded us that “sometimes you put things off because you think it will take a long time and be difficult, but this wasn’t.”