His medical bills would bankrupt him without insurance, which he might not have been able to buy before Obamacare.
Things were looking good for David Wenzel in 2009. He was in the midst of starting his own business, which meant no longer having to work for someone else.
But then he got the worse possible news: David was diagnosed with a brain tumor, a large one that had spread so it could not be removed surgically.
He’s needed multiple treatments since then, and has suffered seizures that sent him to the hospital. This all costs money, with a single brain scan carrying a $3,000 price tag.
“My medical bills would bankrupt me,” David says. “That’s why the passage of the Affordable Care Act was so important to me and I signed up as soon as coverage became available.”
David works as a freelance writer, which means he has to buy his own insurance. Without the ACA — which requires insurers to cover people with pre-existing conditions without charging a higher premium — the 33-year-old Grand Rapids, Mich., resident would be paying premiums of $1,500 to $2,000 a month.
“Before the ACA, I was all too familiar with insurance companies saying they wouldn’t cover me or that my premiums would be that high,” David says. “I couldn’t afford that.”
David says it was easy to find a plan to fit his budget. Thanks to the ACA, his premiums are just $320 a month — for a Platinum plan that has low out-of-pocket costs. Choosing a plan with a higher premium makes his healthcare spending more predictable month to month.
The higher premium saves me money in the long run. I know I’ll have a lot of medical bills, and I was less concerned with saving money and more concerned about getting great coverage.
Finding insurance was easy. I went through all the plans, called a couple of companies and told them, ‘I have a brain tumor’ and they said, ‘It doesn’t matter.’ All the things that would previously have affected me didn’t matter, so it really simplified things.
David says his treatment is going well, and the newlywed and his wife are expecting a child. He continues working during treatment and is grateful he won’t face bankruptcy no matter how much his treatment costs. That’s because the ACA puts a limit on how much a patient has to pay in out-of-pocket costs each year.
The ACA is lifesaving for me. The amount of medical bills I go through each year is shocking. To pay them without insurance — I literally couldn’t do it. I don’t make enough money in a year. You won’t find a bigger fan of the ACA than me.
Even if you don’t have a pre-existing condition, having health insurance will save you money in the long run. Open enrollment for 2015 ends on February 15th so don’t delay. Visit Healthcare.gov today to shop and enroll.
[Photo credit: © jill devries photography]