Well-rested, thanks to Obamacare

The author has health insurance for the first time in 20 years

The author is a longtime Chico resident and a CN&R contributor.

Here’s something you rarely hear: a good news story about Obamacare.

For the last few years, our nation has heard mostly horror stories and warnings of impending doom about what’s officially called the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Even the nickname Obamacare originally began as a derogatory term, though the president has since stated that he likes the name.

There has been so much propaganda from far-right opponents over the law: “Obamacare will put us all under socialism, install government ‘death panels,’ skyrocket health-care rates and kick most of us off our plans!” they screamed.

Well, I’m here to say I’ve had a life-improving experience with it. In January, I joined the 3 million-plus Americans who now have at least basic coverage. And my cost? Only $1 a month! Before Obamacare, such a plan would have cost me close to $300 a month!

The plan has given me great peace of mind.

Prior to signing up, other than the three years when I received minimal coverage as a student at Chico State, I hadn’t had medical insurance for more than 20 years. I was one of those tens of millions of working, taxpaying Americans who fell through the cracks. During those two long decades I was afraid to go to the doctor, and I was plagued by the nagging fear that should I ever had any serious illness, accident or disease, I would be wiped out financially. Worse still, I’d purchased my first home, a modest condo, a few years ago and knew that I was one major, medically related event away from having it flushed down the drain.

With the help of local insurance agent Bruce Jenkins, I recently signed up for “the Bronze plan,” which is similar to what many know as “catastrophic coverage.” That is, I have to pay the first $6,500 of total medical bills per year, but anything above that is covered. God forbid if I ever got cancer or had a severe injury requiring weeks in the hospital and hundreds of thousands of dollars of treatments, but the most I would need to pay is that $6,500. Plus, I get free preventive checkups, immunizations, counseling and screenings.

Now I can sleep much better. If you don’t have medical coverage, look into Obamacare. See a certified Affordable Care Act adviser or check out the state’s health-insurance exchange through the Affordable Care Act, Covered California, at www.coveredca.com.