Prior to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Americans with preexisting conditions had few affordable health care options on the individual private market. Fortunately, when Atlanta resident Rebecca Ferrante lost access to employer-provided health insurance, she was able to rely on the ACA for health care.
When I first found out we lost my husband’s employer-provided health insurance, I burst into tears because I knew if I didn't have heart medications, I would be doubled over in chest pain in the fetal position. So, when the ACA came through, it was a relief because there was no private insurance that would take us with our preexisting conditions.
Rebecca Ferrante is pictured in May 2017. (Photo credit: Rebecca Ferrante)
During the 2008 recession, millions of Americans lost their jobs and, as a result, their health care. When Rebecca’s husband lost his job, her family joined the millions of Americans whose access to health care was put in jeopardy. Around the same time, both Rebecca and her husband experienced serious health conditions that prevented them from acquiring employment that provided health care. As a breast cancer survivor with a serious heart condition, Rebecca was in dire need of health care. Before the ACA, she had even made plans to travel to another country to have open-heart surgery, as it would have been more affordable than having the surgery in the United States without insurance.
Thanks to the ACA, though, Rebecca has enjoyed reliable and affordable health care from the marketplace for more than a decade, qualifying for subsidies that lowered her monthly premium. When she turned 65 and enrolled in Medicare in 2023, she did a happy dance knowing that she would always have access to quality health care.
For too long, losing a job could also mean losing access to health care. But with several affordable insurance options on the ACA marketplace, Americans now have a safety net to fall back on.
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