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Ellen is the proud mother of two and lives in Virginia. She just celebrated her 28th wedding anniversary with her husband. Ellen is thrilled that both of her children — even her daughter who recently graduated from college — are covered under her husband’s health care plan, all thanks to the Affordable Care Act.
Q: Can you tell us what you know about the Affordable Care Act?
A: I know the health care law was passed in 2010 and that it was a much-needed law. It allows uninsured people to have access to health insurance at a more affordable rate, it covers important preventive services, and one of the most important things to me is that people can no longer be denied coverage due to a pre-existing condition.
I’ve been fortunate. I’ve almost always had health insurance, but there was a short time when I wasn’t insured. My husband and I had just found out that I was pregnant with our first child. Within weeks of finding out, my company closed the office I was working in. I found a new job almost immediately, and it offered health benefits, but I didn’t know at the time that my new plan didn’t cover newborn care. The insurance covered my care, but it didn’t cover anything for my daughter once she was born. For all of the care our baby needed, we had to pay out of pocket. It’s nice to know that newborn care is now covered as an essential health benefit.
Q: Do you make the health care decisions for your family?
A: I’m heavily involved. I’m insured by my employer and my husband by his. Our kids are insured under his plan. We look at all of the different options and make the health decisions for our kids together. I always want to make sure that my family gets the best possible care.
Q: How are you and your family benefiting from the health care law?
A: The major benefit is that my daughter, who graduated from college this past May, is able to stay on my husband’s plan. That’s one of the biggest benefits for my family.
Q: How did you learn that you can keep your daughter on your insurance plan until she turns 26?
A: The association I work for received a notice from my insurance company saying that due to the passing of the health care law, adult children could stay on their parents’ plans until age 26. I didn’t think anything about it at time because my daughter was still in school, but I kept the notice at the top of my files in the event that it would be something we would need in the future. It definitely became more top of mind as she got closer to graduating.
Q: How did you feel when you learned you could keep your daughter on your plan?
A: It was great! After graduation, she wanted to move to Atlanta. She didn’t have a job lined up or anything, but knowing that we didn’t have to worry about her going uninsured was very comforting.
Q: As a mother, why is it important to you that your daughter have health insurance?
A: I don’t know if young people appreciate the value of insurance. Young people tend to think they’re invincible. I’m relieved she can just continue with her routine care without interruption. I think if she had to pay for it on her own, she might not want to pay the monthly costs. It would be a huge chunk out of her paycheck. She might see it as something that’s not necessary. She’d think, “I’m young, I’m healthy, I don’t need to pay for this.”
As a mother, I’m helping guide her through the different steps she has to take now that she’s an adult. She called me the other day asking when one of her last annual appointments was because I used to keep track of everything. Now, she’s become the person who has to manage it. Anyway, neither one of us could remember when the appointment was, so I encouraged her to schedule all of her annual exams during her birth month. This way she could look at it as a rite of passage. When you think about it, it’s your birthday month, and to continue having more birthdays, you should stay up to date on your care.
Q: Has the health care law given your daughter more freedom in her choice of jobs?
A: Absolutely! Right now she doesn’t have to worry about whether her job offers health benefits, and as long as she’s under 26, she has the ability to choose a job whether or not it offers health benefits. She’s currently doing event planning and research to help inform her employer’s work. The event planning is what she’s most interested in. She wants to have her own event planning agency one day.
Q: What do you know about the Health Insurance Marketplace?
A: I know it will allow people and small businesses to shop around and compare health plans and pick the ones that best fits their needs. I think for the most part, if you wanted to do that before now, you’d be caught up in a maze going to each different insurance company. It would be hard to look across the board and compare all the plans. The Marketplace will help prevent you from feeling completely lost. It will make shopping for insurance easier and have language you can understand.
Q: Is it comforting to know that if your daughter can’t get coverage through her employer when she turns 26, she’ll be able to find affordable coverage that fits her needs through the Marketplace?
A: I’m relieved to know my daughter will be able to use the Marketplace if she needs to. As I said earlier, before the health care law was passed, if you didn’t have insurance through your employers, private insurance would cost you an arm and a leg.
Q: Are there any other ways the health care law is affecting you or your family?
A: Yes. Preventive services, like mammograms, are covered without a copay. Also, at work, I have already benefited from two rebates from the insurance company. I know that to help keep costs down, the health care law requires insurance companies to spend a certain percentage on health care. If they don’t, they have to issue you a rebate.
Q: What do you think women don’t know about the health care law? What should they know?
A: I think some women don’t know that their children can stay on their policies. A friend of mine has a daughter who is married and even she can stay on her parents’ plan until she’s 26.
I also think it’s important that women are aware of the free preventive services. You can get free family planning options, such as birth control. Women should take advantage of all the free preventive services.
Content last updated October 01, 2013.