If the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as “Obamacare” had been fully in effect in January 2013, things would have been much, much better for my family. This isn’t about politics; this is my reality.
I was laid off when I was 20 weeks pregnant in early 2013. This job was the source of my family’s health care. My options for coverage were grim. COBRA was not an option because it only applies to workplaces with more than 20 employees. The insurance run by the state for low income assessed a massive penalty because I would be giving birth in less than six months. Many individual plans failed to offer maternity care at all or if they did, pregnancy was treated as a pre-existing condition and I would pay a substantial amount on top of the elevated premium. Ultimately, my only choice was a conversion plan, which allowed me to continue the coverage I had with my employer for a certain amount of time. Despite a high premium, the benefits were trimmed substantially (e.g. no prescription coverage, dental, vision and a different deductible). There was some question if the conversion plan would treat pregnancy as a pre-existing condition. Thankfully, it did not.
Had the exchanges been open last year, the job loss would have been much less detrimental to my family. Losing my job would have still been as heartbreaking and frightening, but not as financially ruinous. Under Obamacare, all plans are required to cover maternity care. I couldn’t be charged extra for a pre-existing condition or because I am female. We could have afforded to pay for insurance for the entire family. Instead, we could only afford to pay for my coverage. Everyone else went without.
I wish I had Obamacare already.