Brianne Pellegrini was working two part-time jobs and had no insurance at the beginning of this year.
"Not having insurance is very scary,â?? Pellegrini said. â??I never went to the doctor; in fact, I haven't had a doctor since my pediatrician. I never liked going to the emergency room even if things were really bad; I didn't want to because I knew it'd be coming out of my pocket."
So she decided to check out her options via The Affordable Care act, otherwise known as Obamacare.
â??I ended up getting a really good option for $32 a month. It just depended on what you needed. I don't go to the doctor a lot, so I don't have any issues medically, so for me, it was kind of a choose-the-middle. If something happens it's covered, otherwise I don't want to be paying $200 a month if Iâ??m not going to be using it.â??
The different plans offered can sometimes be confusing, and that's where the Medical Care Access Coalition in Iron Mountain comes into play as they help people through the sign-up process.
â??Itâ??s a scary process, a lot to learn,â?? said Mylynn Trulock, with the DCH Prescription Program, managed by MCAC. â??Itâ??s not that people can't sign up on their own, they just don't feel comfortable and they want to go to somebody who can talk them through it the first time,â?? Trulock said.
Enrollment for Obamacare ended on March 31, which means no more subsidies are available, but there are other options.
â??They can go see an insurance agent if they'd like and pick out a policy, just an insurance policy,â?? said Lori Johnson, with MCAC.
â??There are what's known as special enrollment periods and it's for life-changing events, whether it'd be getting a job, losing a job, a pay cut, having a child,â?? Trulock said.
â??But at this point though, they would not qualify for a subsidy, so they wouldn't get a discount,â?? Johnson said.
The Individual Mandate requires everybody to have health insurance or else pay a penalty. Those who go without coverage for more than three months will be required to pay money to the IRS for each additional month when they files their taxes. The minimum penalty is $95. For Breanne, receiving coverage has been a weight lifted off.
â??Itâ??s been great. There are a few things that have come up this year that I wasn't expecting and I had gotten the bill and I looked at it and I was like, â??Oh! I can't really afford to pay that right nowâ??, how much it would've cost me and then I looked at what I had to pay and Iâ??m telling you it was a world of difference; the difference of paying $1,000 compared to $70,â?? Pellegrini said.