Contributed by Kate McKee
Imagine for a moment that your life is suddenly turned upside down when you are diagnosed with stage three cancer and must undergo life-saving treatment immediately. Or you discover you are diabetic and need expensive medications to prevent your condition from getting worse.
Now think about how devastating these frightening realizations would be if you didn’t have health insurance.
These scenarios are very real and happening all the time, all around this country. We see it in all the desperate “Gofundme” posts on Facebook or hear about it in family circles. Chances are you know someone in this situation or it has happened to you.
Many of us like to think we’re indestructible and will escape serious health crises, but we just never know what tomorrow holds. I can personally attest to that and am grateful I have good health insurance right now.
Medical costs are not going down, unfortunately. You don’t want to risk losing everything you have when faced with mounting medical bills.
Thanks to the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare), we have more opportunities to become covered and get those essential preventative exams that can save our lives, as well as ensure we won’t be discriminated against for pre-existing conditions. We also can have peace of mind of knowing the insurance companies can’t place lifetime limits on our coverage or impose unreasonable out-of-pocket costs.
With the upcoming change in U.S. leadership, no one knows at this point what changes will be made to the ACA and when that might occur. Open Enrollment continues, and you can still shop on the Marketplace for plan options and find out if you qualify for cost savings. In Alaska, many more folks can qualify for Medicaid coverage than in the past due to Medicaid Expansion.
In Mat-Su, residents seeking health coverage through healthcare.gov or who want to know if they qualify for Medicaid, can get assistance from yours truly and others who are certified to help in the Valley. You don’t have to try to figure it out alone. Our services are free and confidential.
If you already are covered through the Federal Health Insurance Marketplace and simply need help re-enrolling, we’re here for that too. Keep in mind that you need to enroll or re-enroll by December 15th in order for your coverage to start January 1st. If you enroll between Dec. 16th and Dec. 31st, your coverage won’t start until Feb 1st. To be covered by Feb 1st, you need to enroll by Jan 15th, etc. Open Enrollment will end Jan. 31st, but some people will qualify to enroll during the Special Enrollment Period. I urge you not to wait until the end of January to apply for coverage. This is too important.
Kate McKee is a certified Navigator Specialist employed by the Alaska Primary Care Association. She has lived in Meadow Lakes for more than 13 years and assisted hundreds of Mat-Su residents with gaining access to the healthcare they need.