Leigh Greene-Colvin, left, an Access Health Mahoning Valley navigator for the Affordable Care Act health insurance marketplace, helps Gloria Marlowe with her paperwork as she enrolls in the ACA at the Eastern Gateway
Community College campus in Youngstown.
By William K. Alcorn
Relief and peace of mind are what Amber Beall, a single mother with an 8-year-old son, said she felt after she enrolled for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly called the Affordable Care Act or “Obamacare,” is a federal law signed by President Barack Obama on March 23, 2010.
Beall, 29, of Youngstown, lost her insurance when she changed jobs, but even when she had insurance, the deductibles and co-pays were so expensive she couldn’t afford to use it.
She said she had trouble when she first tried to enroll early last December, but when the system began running well later that month, she was able to quickly enroll.
Now, she says she has much better insurance, which costs her $55 a month, and after paying her annual $150 deductible, 100 percent of her medical needs are covered. Also, her son is covered under Ohio’s expanded Medicaid program.
Beall told her story at Thursday’s press conference, hosted by U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Cleveland, at the Eastern Gateway Community College Valley Center, where people were urged to enroll for heath care before the March 31 deadline.
If you miss the deadline, you face a tax penalty.
“I hope young people take advantage of the Affordable Care Act and get insurance in the health insurance marketplace,” Beall said.
Brown, joined by area navigators — people trained to help others enroll for health care — and numerous state and local elected officials urged people to enroll before the deadline.
More than 5 million Americans, 97,000 in Ohio, have entered the health insurance marketplace, but more than 115,000 Ohioans are eligible to enroll with financial assistance.
Beall said her subsidy is $215 a month, and Linda Ward of Austintown, another woman who told her success story in enrolling, said her monthly premium is $88 a month and her subsidy is $550 a month.
‘‘We’re here today to spread the word that the ACA is making a positive impact on people’s lives,” Brown said.
People who switch jobs and lose their insurance or those who can’t leave their jobs for fear of losing their health insurance can get coverage under the ACA. Seniors are getting free preventive medical care they weren’t getting before, and people can’t be denied health insurance because of pre-existing conditions, the senator said.
Brown said more than 193,000 Ohioans remain eligible for the marketplace.
Joining Brown to help alert Ohioans about the enrollment deadline were Kathleen Falk, U.S. Health and Human Services Region V director; Bill Adams, executive director of Access Health Mahoning Valley; and Linda Ward, 61, of Austintown, a widow who lost her insurance after she left her job for medical reasons.
Because she is not eligible for Medicare and has too much income for Medicaid, until she enrolled in the health marketplace, she went three years without coverage.
For information about the ACA and where to get help enrolling, residents can visit healthcare.gov or call toll-free at 1-800-318-2596.
The health law already has protected millions of Ohioans by ending lifetime caps on insurance coverage, covering both children and adults with pre-existing conditions, allowing young adults to stay on their parents’ insurance until they are 26, offering free preventive care in new private insurance plans, closing the “doughnut hole” in drug prices for seniors, and providing tax credits to small businesses to help them afford health coverage for their employees, Brown said.