It only took 20 minutes to sign up her 63-year-old mother for coverage she could afford.
The Healthcare.gov website has gotten all the attention — for better and for worse — but when Ruma Salhi needed to find health insurance for her mother, she just picked up the phone.
“I wanted to talk to a real, live person,” says Salhi, who struggled with the website’s glitches when it first launched last year. “They were very helpful and it only took about 20 minutes to get my mom signed up.”
When she moved to Virginia to be closer to her daughter, Salhi’s mom needed to find insurance less expensive than the nearly $400 per month she’d been paying in Texas.
After getting frustrated with Healthcare.gov, Salhi looked into insurance brokers online, only to be inundated with multiple phone calls from brokers on a daily basis. That’s when she went back to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) insurance Marketplace.
“It says right there on the website: ‘Questions? Give us a call.’ So I did,” says Salhi.
She helped her mom enroll in a Silver plan that costs her just $62 per month. Because Salhi’s mom lives on her late husband’s Social Security death benefit, her low income qualified her for payment assistance through tax subsidies. The plan features low co-pays — just $5 per visit for primary care and $20 per visit for specialists — and a huge network of doctors to choose from.
Salhi’s mom has diabetes, so ongoing care is essential to staying well and enjoying her later years with her children and grandchildren — care she couldn’t afford without health insurance.
My mom is only two years shy of Medicare, and the options for her to buy private insurance at her age were staggering. The peace of mind that comes with knowing you’re taken care of is a basic human right that would not have been available to my mom if it wasn’t for the ACA.
To enroll by phone call 1-800-318-2596. You can enroll online at the vastly improved Healthcare.gov, where you can also find local in-person assistance. Open enrollment for 2015 runs November 15 through February 15th, 2015.