The Affordable Care Act, nicknamed “Obamacare,” has taken its share of knocks since enrollment under the program began in October.
One Cleveland resident says she wanted people to hear how it has helped her family in a positive way.
“I’m afraid people are being discouraged by the stories they see,” said Dorothy Quinn.
Quinn, who is a young 81 years old, was upset by a story she had seen on the front page of the Cleveland Daily Banner.
“I think there’s probably at least one-third of the people on Medicare have gotten money from it,” Quinn said. “That’s what I can tell from the people I know.”
Quinn is referring to the closing of the “doughnut hole,” the coverage gap for prescription drugs meaning there’s a temporary limit on what the drug plan will cover for drugs.
The new law includes a one-time $250 rebate for those Medicare recipients who reached the gap in Part D drug coverage in 2010.
According to the White House website, the ACA will take steps every year through 2020 to close the “doughnut hole.”
Starting in 2011, anyone who reaches the gap receives a 50 percent discount on brand-name drugs or a 7 percent discount on generic medications.
“There were some people who got those checks and didn’t know what they were doing,” Quinn said. “I knew someone who wondered why their parents hadn’t gotten theirs. She went back and looked, and the checks were in with a bunch of other papers.
“Oh, gosh this has helped me out,” she said as she showed documents showing where her prescriptions were paid by the “doughnut hole” portion of the ACA.
Quinn also has a child who is self-employed and the only insurance made available was “catastrophic” because of a pre-existing condition.
The new law forbids insurance companies from denying coverage because of pre-existing conditions.
“They were charging $1,000 a month and we checked with all the insurance companies,” she said. “Now with the ACA, they have the best policy offered for almost $400 less a month. That’s still quite a bit, but it covers everything she needs.”
Quinn also has a grandchild she is helping to raise who had a pre-existing condition.
“I went to get insurance for them almost 10 years ago and they asked about that condition,” she said. “I couldn’t even get them a policy. The cheapest they offered was a $1,000 a month ‘catastrophic’ and then they wrote back and said they couldn’t give it to us.”
She said she called everybody and found no company that could help.
Quinn said her grandchild and fiance moved up the date of their wedding so she could be covered under his insurance.
“They had to do it then or they would’ve had to wait another year,” she said. “Now with the new law, they could get it anywhere.
“That’s the reason I feel so strong about it,” Quinn said. “And, it’s all the other people in Bradley County that make up the number that will benefit.”
She pointed out children under the age of 27 can be carried on their parents’ policies.
She says her three grandchildren will benefit from that provision.
“Everybody thinks it was the insurance companies that gave that to them. It was the law that did that,” Quinn emphasized.
“There are so many people who have benefited from this and now mine is taken care of,” she said.
Quinn said what has bothered her most from the news coverage of the ACA is the negativity of the stories.
“People see those on the front page and they are discouraged from trying it because they believe what they read on the front page,” Quinn said. “We’ve got a lot of people here in Cleveland who need insurance bad and never had it and now could get it. They have been discouraged.”
She said there may be some who know her who won’t be happy she has taken a public stand on the issue.
“This is not about politics. This is personal. I can say this has helped me and my family and everyone should check on it,” Quinn said. “Don’t be discouraged about what you read. This can help.”