Kathryn of Signal Mountain, TN

Kathryn of Signal Mountain, TN writes:

I am a resident of Signal Mountain, TN, and the mother of four children, two with special health care needs. My son has a neuromuscular metabolic disorder, and my youngest daughter has Down syndrome and was born with esophageal atresia and a form of leukemia. We are an average middle class family–we have always followed the rules! We went to college, we both work, pay taxes, own our home, participate in our community, do volunteer work, donate to charities, give blood. We always paid for insurance, even when we were young and unlikely to need it.

When Anna was born, she had a lengthy NICU stay and multiple surgeries during her first year. She was tube fed by pump, and required IV antibiotic infusions. At first, our insurance coverage through an employer sponsored plan was good.  But at contract renewal time, our plan was gutted. Medically necessary, life sustaining treatments for our children were contractually excluded, and our premiums and deductible skyrocketed.

We decided to investigate options for a better family plan on the individual market. We were told that any plan offered would exclude our children, and that they would not be able to offer us coverage for reasonable premiums. We were left underinsured.  Without good coverage, paying for the kids’ health care out of pocket was hard. We were lucky enough to keep afloat by cutting back on ‘discretionary’ items, like home repairs, medical and dental care for ourselves.

Under the ACA, our children cannot be denied for a pre-existing condition, and are guaranteed community issue rates. My son will be able to afford his treatments. Certain basic provisions of care can never be contractually excluded. Their sisters will be able to stay on our plan until age 26, and then have access to a market place plan if they are not yet eligible for an employer sponsored group plan. Obamacare saved my family. Please preserve this peace of mind and security for my family.

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