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Brenda’s story: Why #CoverageMatters to her

It was September 2015 when Brenda took a phone call from her doctor telling her the mass on her pancreas was cancer.

“Oh my gosh. I got off the phone and just started crying,” said the Maryland resident. “I thought, well, I have to get insurance now.”

Without coverage that year since losing her job, she was able to enroll with the help of a local navigator, Alexcys. The plan started in February 2016, and Brenda began seeing her doctors again. A tax credit through the marketplace reduced her monthly bill from $600 to $133.

With costs piling up for cancer treatments, and her husband now also laid off from his job, affordable health insurance was critical. For Brenda, coverage matters.

Six months of chemotherapy were covered. Surgery and a $38,000 hospital stay at Johns Hopkins — covered. More than $100,000 in tests and treatments — covered.

Brenda credits navigator Alexcys, who works at Maryland Health Connection’s partner, Seedco, with helping her sort through her insurance applications, taking time to understand her questions, and explaining plan options. The help comes at a time when Brenda said she’s been frustrated by the waits and red tape of public assistance options to help with basics like putting food on her table.

“I’m just happy I was able to get insurance through someone who really cares about you,” she said recently, as she prepared for Thanksgiving.

For next year, Brenda picked a $0 deductible Silver plan with $10 to $20 copays she can afford. A tax credit will lower her monthly bill from $800 to about $70.

Nine out of 10 Marylanders who enroll through Maryland Health Connection qualify for financial help with their health plans.

“I’m just so glad I got this Affordable Care Act,” Brenda said. “If it wasn’t for them, I don’t know what I would have done.”

About Maryland Health Connection

Maryland Health Connection is Maryland’s official health insurance marketplace for individuals and families to compare plans and enroll in health and dental coverage. It’s the only place to get financial help with health insurance. See if you qualify for financial help like tax credits or Medicaid/MCHP to make health insurance more affordable.

Visit MarylandHealthConnection.gov to enroll, or download our free Enroll MHC mobile app for Android and iPhones. Open Enrollment for 2017 is Nov.1 to Jan. 31.

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