Affordable Care Act, healthcare, Obamacare — December 9, 2016

Obamacare gives this woman the freedom to spend more time caring for her aging parents

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Being able to semi-retire and move closer to her parents means being true to the family values that are important to her.

When Laura’s parents began struggling with health issues in their 80s, she knew she didn’t want to wait for a “trigger event” — when one of them became seriously ill — to begin spending more time with them.

She and her partner were living in Virginia and her parents were in North Carolina, and with a full-time job it was just too hard to visit them nearly as often as she would have liked.

I wanted to enjoy time with them while they were healthy, but the issue was always access to health insurance if I left my full-time job.

Enter the Affordable Care Act (ACA), or Obamacare. When private insurance became available to individuals through HealthCare.gov beginning with coverage for 2014, Laura and her partner started looking seriously at moving to North Carolina. Her partner had already retired, after receiving an inheritance from his father, and was covered on Laura’s health insurance from work.

“We weren’t in desperate straits, but we made some life decisions because we could with the availability of insurance,” Laura says. “We moved to North Carolina in 2015, which was the first year we were on Obamacare.”

Laura and her partner are on separate plans, having each chosen coverage that meets their needs. With the help of tax subsidies, Laura’s plan costs her $390 a month — and the cost is going down to $326 for 2017. Now 60 years old, Laura works two days a week from home, which gives her plenty of time to spend with her parents.

They don’t need a lot of help now, but they’ll both be losing their driver’s licenses in the next year. They want to stay in their home. The only way they can do that is with my help. We can’t afford to hire full-time help for them.

Taking care of our parents as they get older is important. How can people in their 50s and 60s leave their full-time jobs and juggle all this without health insurance?

Laura worries about what might happen if all or part of the ACA is repealed under the Trump administration. She has osteoporosis and her partner is a stroke and cancer survivor. The ACA prohibits insurance companies from discriminating against people with pre-existing conditions. If those protections go away, Laura isn’t sure what they would do.

Would I have to get a full-time job again after being out of the workforce for a couple of years at my age? Would we be able to get reasonably priced insurance? If it’s just a matter of paying more we’d figure it out, but I’m worried I won’t be able to get insurance at all.

Are you concerned about what might happen to you and your family if Obamacare is repealed? Tell us about it HERE if you’d like to be considered for a future post.

Open enrollment for 2017 insurance continues through January 31, 2017. You must enroll by December 15, 2016, for coverage to begin January 1, 2017. Get covered today at HealthCare.gov.

[Stock photo credit: Rhoda Baer acquired from National Cancer Institute, via FreeStockPhotos.biz.]

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