Five years ago, I was diagnosed with leukemia. The first thing I did was find a health plan that fit my needs — a “Cadillac” plan because that covered 100 percent of my expensive treatments. While the plan was expensive, it allowed me to focus on my health and to see the specialists and doctors that I needed. Most of all, it gave me peace of mind.
Obamacare canceled my plan. Last October, I received a cancellation letter. I was being denied my insurance choice because my plan didn’t comply with Obamacare. I was shocked. Like the rest of the country, I’d heard the president promise, “if you like your health care plan, you can keep it.”
He lied to me — a cancer patient. After I received my cancellation letter, I tried repeatedly to get onto the marketplace; it never worked. I tried to call the marketplace representatives; I never got through.
I was in a state of panic. Without insurance, I can’t afford the medication that keeps my cancer from growing. I simply could not have a gap in insurance coverage. I paced the floor most nights, I couldn’t eat, sleep or focus on anything other than trying to get insurance. I even pulled out my will and updated it.
In December, I finally got through to a representative from the marketplace. I was told I could only do a paper application — but it would take two weeks before I knew anything. I didn’t have two weeks. I had to have coverage now, so that I could get my medication paperwork started.
That’s when I gave up. Instead, I called an insurance broker and enrolled in a plan that came closest to my discontinued plan. I focused on my specialist and my medications. The premiums were cut in half, but much of those savings were offset by an increased out-of-pocket limit.
Now, I am not sure if I’ll be able to afford the month-to-month cost spikes that could accompany plans like this. I now have to plan and think about what every test costs and if I have the money. I need those tests in order to survive. Now I have to worry about that cost as well as the cancer test results.
I recently told my story in Michigan with the help of a group called Americans for Prosperity. Now people are attacking me and calling me a liar. Some believe that I can afford the insurance because the annual premiums will be lower.
Those people choose to ignore the problems inherent with high out-of-pocket limits and prescriptions that aren’t covered for a person like me.
My new plan could mean wildly fluctuating and front-loaded costs in the first few months of the year. I chose my old plan — the one that Obamacare canceled — specifically so I could budget for the same monthly costs with certainty.
I have reached out to Congressman Gary Peters for help since he is running for a Senate seat for Michigan.
He refuses to speak to me.
Instead of trying to help me, Congressman Peters tried to silence me. His Washington attorneys have attempted to intimidate television stations airing my story.
I actually went to his house when I learned of this to ask him to help me navigate the Obamacare law, a law he helped pass. He didn’t answer, so I left him a note asking him to contact me.
Then Sen. Harry Reid said — on the U.S. Senate floor, no less — that my story is a lie.
I never asked for this. Obamacare has turned my life into a nightmare.
That’s why I’m speaking out for the 225,000 Michiganians who also lost their insurance plans thanks to Obamacare. Like them, I want a plan that works for me.
Instead, Obamacare has denied me my choice of coverage, President Barack Obama has betrayed my trust, Harry Reid called me a liar, and Gary Peters has tried to silence me.
— Julie Boonstra, Dexter