CLEVELAND - Amid serious conversations on Capital Hill of a repeal of the Affordable Care Act, local northeast Ohio residents are weighing in on what that might mean for them and their family’s health insurance.
“When I was young I had open-heart surgery and then, later on in my life, I had melanoma. At that point, nobody will touch you,” said Rebecca Benjamin.
Benjamin lives in Warren, Ohio. Several years ago, she and her husband were running the family’s small business. For years, because of pre-existing conditions, her only option was “catastrophic” health insurance coverage, a plan that catered to pre-existing conditions and one with an extremely high premium. Benjamin says she was terrified to ever go see her doctor.
“The fear that if something was wrong, then how would I pay for it?” she said.
But since 2010, when the Affordable Care Act passed, insurance companies have not driven up her prices the way they did previously, citing her pre-existing conditions as an excuse. Also, her two daughters, both in their 20s, have been able to stay on her plan.
Her prescriptions have become more affordable too. She pays $190 for two, totaling $380 a month, all covered by her insurance. She was previously paying for these out of pocket. A repeal of the Affordable Care Act she said would be devastating to her family’s finances.
“Today, we’re paying a little over $700 a month for nearly a $13,000 deductible,” said Mark Toth.
Toth lives in Wickliffe with his wife and 17-year-old daughter. He loved their coverage previously, but since his wife switched jobs a few years ago, they’ve had to find their own insurance and ever since, they’ve been paying for everything out of pocket, unable to attain their sky-high, $13,000 deductible.
Toth blames the Affordable Care Act for his unreasonably high deductible. He says insurance companies have changed to accommodate the demands of the ACA. Toth wants his insurance to go back to the way it was before the ACA was passed, when he was paying an affordable premium and had a reasonable deductible.
“It was supposed to improve the market, more competition, lower rates, keeping our plan, none of that’s happened,” he said.