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With no employer-sponsored health plan, stay-at-home mom Stacy carefully studied the best options for her family. She couldn't afford to buy health insurance for her young family, and that became a big challenge when her husband needed care.
When the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was signed into law by President Obama on March 23, 2010, stay-at-home mom Stacy* felt like she was missing out on the party.
“Everyone around me was celebrating the changes that were happening with health care, and it was hard to explain to them that we still couldn’t afford it,” she explains. “But when I talked to [my Premium Assistance coordinator at Project Access Northwest], she understood. That all by itself meant a lot to me.”
Stacy’s financial struggles did not result from reckless decisions or a carefree attitude. On the contrary, she can reflect on the key decisions of her life and take pride in each one. She fell in love and married a military man; he left the service—and the risk of overseas deployment—when they wanted to start a family; and she decided to be a stay-at-home mom to give her son needed individual attention and support. Along the way, they got a good deal on a house, and her husband supported them with his job at a small, local company.
With no employer-sponsored health plan, Stacy carefully studied the best options for her family.
“We had to change policies almost every year to ones with higher deductibles to keep the premiums affordable,” she explains. “Even after tax credits came available, we were still struggling to pay the premiums.”
When her husband needed medical care, the family faced even more financial struggles. It was stressful for Stacy, who had always been careful with her resources.
“We were having trouble affording the medical bills,” she describes. “We had insurance at the time, but our deductible was so high we were still in trouble.”
Stacy contacted Providence St. Peter Hospital to see if she could work out a payment plan. That’s when Stacy received a life-changing referral to Project Access Northwest’s Premium Assistance Program.
“ I can’t tell you how that year really changed our life,” says Stacy. “I was feeling so desperate at the time.”
With support from her Premium Assistance coordinator, Stacy managed to maintain health insurance coverage for her family, make a plan to pay off the medical bills, and provide critical support and advocacy for her son.
“I have felt almost paralyzed with anxiety when I’ve had to deal with insurance in the past,” she adds. “[My coordinator] is a very calm and reassuring person that makes this process so much easier to deal with. She has helped me figure out how to report our income and how to navigate the Washington Healthplanfinder.”
Project Access Northwest’s Premium Assistance Program offered Stacy emotional support and financial assistance at a vulnerable time. Having made it through the initial financial crisis, Stacy and her family are looking forward to brighter days ahead—perhaps with a job promotion, salary increase and employer-sponsored health insurance.
“I just wanted you all to know what a difference your program has made for us and how grateful we are for the help,” she concludes.
Project Access Northwest serves dozens of people like Stacy annually through the Premium Assistance Program and several thousand more through Care Coordination. Please contact us if you’d like to know more.
*Name and some biographical details altered to protect client privacy.