Affordable Care Act, Michigan, Obamacare — March 27, 2014 at 8:10 am

Michigan woman wants people to know the truth about Obamacare: “It saved us”


She and her husband found insurance for just $227/month. What are you waiting for? 2014 enrollment ends March 31.

Dawn Erina is frustrated with all the lies she’s heard about the Affordable Care Act (ACA). That’s because she knows first-hand what a difference having affordable health insurance can make in someone’s life.

Her husband, Leonard, lost his job last year. He’s been searching for a new one, but at age 62, it isn’t easy. For now, he’s collecting unemployment and 57-year-old Dawn works part-time in property management. But the couple can’t go without health insurance. Between them, they take 19 different medications and have 14 pre-existing conditions ranging from allergies to heart disease, which isn’t unusual for people their age.

They looked into the COBRA coverage from Leonard’s old job, but it would have cost nearly $1,300/month — almost his entire unemployment check. So Dawn turned to because “I knew it would save us,” she says.

Choking back tears, she told me what having health insurance means to them.

If we didn’t avail ourselves of the coverage on the Marketplace, I don’t know if either of us would make it to my daughter’s wedding this summer. If we didn’t have our medications every day, I don’t know how long we’d last. We’re not playing here.

Dawn admits she struggled to complete the online application process, but she wasn’t surprised to find some glitches with a brand-new program. “Even Ellen doing a retweet of a photo from the Oscars crashed Twitter,” she says. “If there’s a lot of people on there, that’s going to happen.”

But she was persistent and it paid off. The Erinas found coverage almost identical to what they had while her husband was working — for just $227/month, thanks to more than $900 in tax credits due to their low income. Their Silver-level plan includes a $500 deductible and a $2,500 maximum on out-of-pocket costs. The co-pay for generic prescriptions is just $20 and they got to keep all their doctors.

Dawn says she wants people to know the truth about the ACA (or, if you prefer, Obamacare).

All those lies being put out there on TV — I wish people realized that maybe the person’s health insurance used to have a $20,000 deductible, and didn’t cover all the things the ACA covers now like free screenings and check-ups. My husband and I can’t go on TV and say we’re dying right now, but this has been a blessing to us.

I think what’s getting lost in the debate is that this is people we’re talking about — somebody’s mom, son, grandfather or baby. There are people who are going to survive because they got health insurance. Because they have coverage, there are people who are not going to die.

She adds that people who are eligible for tax credits shouldn’t feel embarrassed about taking them. [Note to Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette, who joined a federal lawsuit that would strip Michiganders of their ACA tax credits: These are the people you’d be hurting.]

I don’t know how we got to a place in our country where helping people in need is a bad thing. Leonard and I have contributed to society, but right now we don’t have any retirement, we don’t have full-time jobs and our house is underwater.

Dawn urges people who haven’t already signed up for health insurance to do it now. “Take advantage of it,” she says. “Who knows what the day may bring? Your children, husbands, wives, parents, children and grandchildren want you to be with them.”

Visit today to enroll. The deadline to apply is March 31, but the Obama administration has extended the completion date to mid-April for anyone who starts the application process by then.

[Photo courtesy of Dawn Erina.]