Jobless woman cancels insurance
“For me to afford health insurance, I was going to have to eat badly,” she said, and risk having to go to medication to control her diabetes.
Who: Denise Minard, 59, single.
Circumstance: Diagnosed with diabetes, she has been able to stay insulin-free by careful attention to her diet.
Challenge: In April, she lost her job at a struggling printing company and hasn’t found work since. After she pays the rent on her Capitol Hill apartment, and bills for her phone and Internet service, she has $592 a month left from her unemployment check to cover everything else.
Current coverage: After she left work, she signed up for an individual policy from Group Health Cooperative for $386 a month, plus a hefty deductible. But after three months, she canceled her policy. “For me to afford health insurance, I was going to have to eat badly,” she said, and risk having to go to medication to control her illness.
Fortunately, she hasn’t had major problems since she canceled her insurance, and has been getting low-cost primary care at Country Doctor Community Clinic. But she worries: “I feel pretty vulnerable.”
Options: Denise didn’t realize that she would qualify for a subsidy under the Affordable Care Act. She knew only that she couldn’t afford the plan she’d had. According to preliminary calculations, Denise likely will be able to get a subsidy on the exchange, where she could buy a midlevel “silver” plan that will offer better coverage than what she had and cost her about $115 a month.
— Carol M. Ostrom