Which leads to my story of how the Affordable Care Act has affected me. In truth, not at all. My husband has a great job for a company that chooses to provide its employees (and their families) with that famed Cadillac health insurance.
As a matter of fact, in all of my years on Earth– 37 and counting– I have never been without health insurance. My Dad’s military career covered me as a college student until I was 25. When it finally expired–and oh, how I mourned the loss of my dependent ID– I picked up insurance through my full time retail job. Less impressive, my insurance coverage cost me $60 every two weeks, which might sound like a pittance, but is a lot of money for a worker earning $9 an hour.
I carried that insurance to cover any potential catastrophic health crises. However, high deductibles and co-pays still sent me to planned parenthood for my yearly gynecological exams and the birth control not covered by my prescription plan (though it DID cover viagra, which no amount of arguing with the claims department could change).
In between my retail years and my stay-at-home-mom years, I worked at the same company my husband works for now.
So how has a lifetime of having affordable health care affected me? A few days after high school graduation I suffered reoccurring hives that spread across my whole body and down my throat. I spent a little less than a week in the hospital, being pumped with high-dose steroids and anti-histamines. They ran allergy tests, blood tests, and urine tests. The total cost of that hospital visit– and I remember because my dad forgot his checkbook, so I had to pay– less than $15.
During the pre-kid working years when a really nasty cough and extreme shortness of breath sent me to a doctor, then to a lung x-ray; my cost, $75 dollars. My cost for the mental health provider necessary for medicating my ADD, and the cost for the ADD medication, both of which a requirement for my quality of life; $35 dollars a month.
The cost of my husband’s surgery to remove a huge paratoid tumor in his neck; less than $500.
The entire maternity cost of my first child– $1100. And I thought that was really expensive until I saw the line item cost on the EOB.
When intense uterine cramps sent me to both a doctor and a radiologist– both of which would have saved my life had that ovarian fibroid been an ovarian tumor instead, cost less than $100. And the month I spent suffering from extreme dizzy spells that swept me off my feet? Several doctor trips and tests provided a solution: I am the only person to whom my doctor has recommended eat more salt (I have low blood pressure).
When I went to an out-of-town-ER with pain that I was fairly certain would be fatal? Even after several hours in the ER, a CAT scan, IV drugs (y’all kidney stones–even small ones–are brutal) my cost was almost nothing.
So how has having affordable health care affected me?
I have never once had to hesitate to bring either of my children to the doctor, or the two times we’ve gone, to the emergency department. I have never once had to worry about an illness bankrupting my family. Now, thanks the Affordable Care Act legislation, I never will.