My Healthcare Story
I live and work in Charlottesville Virginia, where my family and I have been buying health insurance through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) for years. In 2017, the Trump administration cut the cost sharing reductions for insurance companies – a critical element of ACA success. It caused mass uncertainty in the market, and as a result, all but one insurer left our area. The company that stayed took advantage of their monopoly.
On November 1st, 2017, I logged-on to healthcare.gov to discover that my family’s premiums had gone from $900/month to more than $3,000/month. My husband and I laughed at first – it was so absurd. That’s $36,000 a year for a bronze plan! We would soon learn that the premiums in Charlottesville had become the highest in the nation.
I started calling Congresspeople and local reporters – posting on Facebook and twitter. I talked to anyone who would listen. We were featured in the New York Times and the Washington Post! I started simply advocating for my family, and the next thing I knew, I had become an activist for my community.
I helped start a group called Charlottesville for Reasonable Health Insurance. We raised $20,000 and hired a lawyer to fight back against the insurance company. We challenged their filings with the state Bureau of Insurance and filed a formal complaint with the State Corporation Committee. In the meantime, we’re working with legislators to propose new laws which will prevent such corporate overreach in the future.
We’ve recently learned that premiums for 2019 are projected to come down by almost 30%, largely due to our efforts, but a 30% drop after a 300% increase is not enough to make premiums affordable. So, we are holding the insurance companies responsible and we are showing our politicians that healthcare is the most important issue in this year’s election. We will settle for nothing less than healthcare for all.
City/Town: Charlottesville Virginia
Organization: Healthcare-NOW Virginia