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Veteran Nurse Implores Uninsured to Sign Up for Coverage Under the ACA

For the last several years, I was in a very dark place. After having worked in nursing for 20 years, I found myself unemployed, uninsured, and with a chronic health condition.

Rose Yanko implores uninsured Pennsylvanians to sign up for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act. (https://healthcare.gov)

Rose Yanko implores uninsured Pennsylvanians to sign up for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act. (https://healthcare.gov)

I was not able to afford health insurance at all, even if I found a company who would cover me with a preexisting condition. The treatments I needed were much too expensive to pay for out of pocket. My doctor told me that my best bet might be to move to a city with a university hospital and sign up for experimental treatments.  I couldn’t believe that was my option — to move away from my family and loved ones and be used as a guinea pig.

So for four years, I didn’t go to the doctor and I skipped biopsies. I had no idea if I was healthy, if I had cancer, if I was getting sicker. I lived with that constant fear every day.

When I heard about the Affordable Care Act (ACA), I decided to call their toll free number. I was able to get Geisinger insurance with a low deductible that will cover my treatments and prescriptions (with a low copay) for only $30 per month. When I heard that, I felt a huge weight being lifted off me — a weight I didn’t even realize I was carrying, because I had become so numb to the despair.

When I tell people about my new insurance, I’m surprised how much misinformation there is. A lot of people think that ACA means the government will give you healthcare, but that’s not true at all. ACA lets you buy private health insurance and provides subsidies to help cover the cost, if you qualify.

My hope is for everyone who lacks health insurance to call 1-800-318-2596 or visit Healthcare.gov. It has literally changed my life — and given me a chance at a long healthy life. No one should live with the uncertainty and fear that goes along with not being able to afford health care.

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