Something to be thankful for

I’ve always had trepidations about the future of my health. My parents have owned a small business my whole life and without the availability of affordable health care prior to ACA, I knew that I simply could not get sick and I could not break anything, ever. End of story. We’d be up a creek without a paddle and life as I knew it would change for ever. This was proven time and time again. The time my kidneys failed on me, my mom spent months working to get even partial coverage for the 200K plus in hospital bills we were dealing with. An automobile accident left me with sustained shoulder pain that has gone unmanaged because exams and doctors appointments are a distant thought at out-of-pocket costs. Living in Flagstaff, I’ve held off enjoying the beauty and accessibility of SnowBowl for fear that my first time on skis would land me in a hospital bed and in debt for a lifetime. All I knew about the healthcare system before the Affordable Care Act was the pains it had brought to my family and the tremendous financial burden we’d been forced to assume. So this year on Thanksgiving, I sat down with my laptop (and a full belly), ready to fight through the infamous website. I was prepared to deal with whatever problems I encountered because for the first time in my life, I had an opportunity to be insured.

This is me, unhappy and hospitalized.


Within a half hour, I had successfully navigated the entire website and I had been sent my eligibility notification. I couldn’t believe the ease at which this happened.

Thanks to my tremendous student loan debt and my low-income, I qualify for AHCCCS under the Medicaid expansion. Still, even without AHCCCS, my monthly premium options were very reasonable – no more than the cost of a tank of gas a month to have peace of mind.

I understand most of the glitches people are encountering stem from recognition issues with the website and these things are currently being mended by the administration; still, I urge you to work through the website to the best of your ability because chances are it could work, and you could have health insurance. And, if you are one of the few people that run into trouble – there are plenty of resources available to help.

The quality of my life has already improved. I’m working with a local chiropractor on options for my shoulder, I’ve got an eye exam scheduled after the first of the year to get a much needed glasses update, and I even bought lift tickets for Snowbowl. I am immensely thankful for the Obama Administration and the work that has gone into the Affordable Care Act. The rollout was rough, but with patience and perseverance, we can all be guaranteed much needed peace of mind.


Contributted by Chelsea Byers

December 3rd, 2013


Posted in Letters to the Editor.