Get Covered America’s #GotCovered Series: Women Across the Country Are Getting Covered And Telling Others About Their New Options

Women are playing a pivotal role in encouraging friends and family to check out their options in the new Health Insurance Marketplace

Thursday, December 11, 2013
CONTACT: Justin Nisly | 202-601-2494

Washington, DC — Get Covered America’s weekly #GotCovered series highlights consumers who have found coverage that fits their needs and their budget through the new Health Insurance Marketplace. This week focuses on the important role women play when it comes to finding and comparing health care coverage. Although women make up just 45% of the uninsured, they make more than 80% of health care decisions. Thanks to the new options available under the Affordable Care Act, women are more important than ever in enrolling themselves, their families, and encouraging others in their circles to get covered. The Get Covered America campaign relies on volunteers coming forward to share their knowledge and women are driving this effort in their communities and in their living rooms. Our previous #GotCovered stories are available here.

Sue Voelker – Tucson, AZ – New Health Options Allowed Her to Pursue New Career Opportunities

Sue is an IT consultant and she has been eager to position herself with greater career flexibility as a contractor. In her line of work, flexibility to move between employers and clients is rewarded with potentially higher earnings. When she left her last position for a new opportunity this year, she did so with the knowledge that the new Health Insurance Marketplaces would be there for her. Sue’s husband had sought quotes for her on the private market before October 1 and those premiums were well outside of her budget – with some at almost $900 a month.

Until the new marketplace opened, Sue’s health insurance has determined her entire career path. She says health care has been the single limiting factor for having to stick with large employers who can guarantee her affordable coverage. Earlier in her career, Sue watched as a colleague was shamed by a small employer’s insurer because of their pre-existing condition. When she was diagnosed with Marfan syndrome, Sue was worried she could be singled out the same way for causing increased premiums within a small pool of otherwise healthy, insured colleagues.

Now in her late fifties with a pre-existing condition, Sue was impressed by her marketplace options. She selected a gold tier plan that is almost exactly what she would have paid to continue her old coverage through COBRA and several hundred below what she had been quoted for premiums prior to October 1. While she did not qualify for premium assistance, Sue says she’s reached a point in her life where paying the bills is not the top concern – her health security is. Being able to move between jobs without considering health benefits may well translate into a higher income for the couple. Sue has made a point to tell others who are in similar positions in her field how she went about applying so that they too can benefit from the career opportunities her new insurance now allows.

Barb Valaw – Pittsburgh, PA – An Advocate Finds Big Savings for Prescription Drugs

When the Affordable Care Act passed in 2010, Barb wanted to be on the frontlines raising awareness of its benefits to friends, family, and neighbors. Over her career as both an attorney and a licensed nursing home administrator, Barb has seen how health care concerns can overwhelm a family. She worked for years going to bat for employee benefits on behalf of clients. Before the health care law took effect, she had often seen families with premature infants nearing lifetime limits before they even came home from the hospital.

Not only is Barb an advocate, she’s also now a beneficiary of the law. In need of continued coverage after her COBRA plan ran out this summer, Barb was able to sign up recently for the new Health Insurance Marketplace with the help of a navigator after encountering glitches earlier in October. Barb was pleased to find both health and affordable dental coverage there. More importantly, her new gold tier plan will now cover prescriptions which she had paid for out-of-pocket until this point. While her new plan’s premium is just $13 more than what she had been paying each month, she estimates savings close to $1400 in 2014 since her prescriptions are now covered. Moreover, Barb thinks she will likely qualify for premium assistance, but held off on applying for it since there is a chance her income will vary.

Barb has been volunteering with Get Covered America and our partners to spread the word in her community. Now she feels she can relay her experience in encouraging others to see what’s out there.

Marcia Kirshner – Boca Raton, FL – A Once-Frustrated Shopper Finds Great Options on Marketplace

Even as a healthy individual, insurance shopping has been a dissatisfying experience for Marcia in the past. When she started working part-time years ago, Marcia had applied for coverage with an insurer that put her through the ringer. She had to call through and collect in person all of her various medical records from doctors’ offices and make copies before she could submit her application. Due to their own oversight, the company then denied her coverage because they thought Marcia had not proved she followed up on a chest x-ray when she had provided records showing that she did. Marcia was asked to start the process over and was quoted a different rate. She says the process was insane considering her excellent health. After all, Marcia was an aerobics instructor at the time with a clean bill of health. In her mind, it just should not be this difficult to do the responsible thing and get covered.

When Marcia was deemed eligible for the marketplace recently, she found dozens of great options available to her even without the premium assistance available to many. She had received notice that her old plan was non-compliant with Affordable Care Act standards and was quoted a much higher premium to continue with what they considered comparable coverage. Marcia thought she would see what’s out there and not just settle. Her new option is a silver tier plan with a comparable premium and coverage to her old plan with a deductible that’s $1600 less.

For weeks now, Marcia has been volunteering with Get Covered America to encourage others to check out the process. In her work, she’s found folks who qualify for huge savings and shares their stories and her own experience as she meets new people who could stand to benefit.

About Get Covered America and Enroll America

Get Covered America is a national campaign of Enroll America that is focused on educating consumers about the benefits of health coverage and the new health insurance available under the Affordable Care Act. With operations in eleven states (AZ, FL, GA, IL, MI, NC, NJ, OH, PA, TN and TX), our grassroots team is powered by passionate staff and volunteers with one motivating goal: to give Americans the information they need to choose an affordable health insurance plan that’s right for them and their families.

Enroll America is the nation’s leading health care enrollment coalition, bringing together community and health organizations, businesses and others to inform consumers about the new health coverage options and how to enroll in them. It is an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit 501c(3) organization.


For more information on Enroll America and its efforts, visit

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