Imagine being hired for a company and three months later youâ€™re laid off. Yep, that happened to me in 2005. I was the last hired and the first fired. That was a turning point for me. Instead of finding another job, I decided it was time to get that college degree that I wanted more than anything. Then and now, all I could hear was my late-brother telling me, â€œRee, people donâ€™t care if you live your dreams or not. They are going to keep right on living and youâ€™re the only one that will have regrets.â€ I didnâ€™t want those regrets so I took action.
As I made the decision to go back to school, I became one of the more than 40 million people at the time with no health insurance. It was a chance I hesitantly took. I regularly prayed that I didnâ€™t get sick or have to be hospitalized. It was a scary time for me and in a perfect world, I wouldnâ€™t have to decide between health insurance and an education. I just wouldnâ€™t and no one should ever have to.
In 2010, President Barack Obama signed into law the Affordable Care Act. The purpose of the law according to the White House is to make health insurance affordable and easily accessible for those of us who need it. Additionally, it allow those with insurance (employer supplied or private) to see whatâ€™s available in the Health Insurance Marketplace for comparison shopping. The Marketplace is also available to get answers to questions about healthcare and to find out if you are eligible for tax credits.
Let me say, I canâ€™t write this article without acknowledging that many people disagree with the Affordable Care Act for various reasons. However, it is the law. Like most laws, thatâ€™s just how it is. Sure, we can go back and forth about the issues that exist within the ACA, but I prefer to focus about the pros. In addition to the Health Insurance Marketplace open and available to all Americans, I love that the ACA focuses on preventive health care services. These preventive services include screenings, vaccinations and counseling services. As someone who is concerned with women and childrenâ€™s health, knowing that well-baby and well-child screenings are available until the age of 21 makes me pretty giddy on the inside. Besides, the health of a nation is deemed by the health and wellness of women and children. Thatâ€™s major and we need to ensure that our women and children are cared for.
Open enrollment is happening NOW. It started on the 15th of this month and continues until Feb. 15, 2015. However, donâ€™t wait until the last-minute. You may have questions and the earlier you get started, the more time you have to get your questions answered, choose a plan and get covered. New enrollees such as myself can get coverage as early as January 1, 2015.
As I mentioned above, in 2005, I had to choose between a college degree which makes me more marketable in the workplace or I could choose to get a job and fear getting stuck because I didnâ€™t have a degree. In May 2011, I got my degree. I have a B.A. in Fine Arts and Humanities with a concentration in print journalism. I am now working on my Masters of Public Health and I am no longer forced to choose between my degree and health insurance. I can have both and that my friend, is the American way.
Special thanks to UnitedHealthcare for sponsoring this conversation.Â Visit them today to get specialized assistance in choosing a health care plan that works for you and your family.
So tell me about you. Have you shopped in the Marketplace for insurance since the ACA has been signed into law? Tell me about your experience below.