More of Your Voices: Coverage Matters to Maryland Families

With just days left until the January 31 deadline for 2017 coverage, you’ve been sharing your own story of how coverage matters to you and your family.

We’ve talked with Marylanders who need coverage because of life-threatening illnesses or to access important preventive care, many who are saving money with the help of financial assistance like tax credits, and others who value the peace of mind of protecting their loved ones from the unexpected.

We're sharing some of their stories this week. You can also tell us yours, and hear from more Marylanders like you.

Gayle real coverage for real peopleGayle Danley of Silver Spring is saving more than $400 a month on her family’s health insurance.
Gayle, who was featured in TV and radio commercials for Maryland Health Connection this winter, is a slam poet who enrolled with help from navigator Mengesha in Montgomery County.

Gayle thanked our partner Montgomery County Health Connector for superior, friendly and fast service, and for helping her access financial help to lower her costs. Previously her family was paying more than $700 a month for coverage, and now they are paying $220. Listen as Gayle tells her family's story.

Brenda of Cecil County got health insurance that paid for more than $100,000 in treatment for pancreatic cancer.
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,” she said. “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, from our partner Seedco. 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 — covered. Surgery and a $38,000 hospital stay at Johns Hopkins — covered. More than $100,000 in tests and treatments — covered.

For 2017, 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. “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.”

Larry enrolleeLarry C. from Baltimore got covered at an Extol and Enroll event.
Larry said he had been uninsured for about a year and recently moved to Maryland from Pennsylvania in search of new work. He said he was hoping to get coverage through the Affordable Care Act in Maryland as well.

Larry visited the Empowerment Temple during the Extol & Enroll initiative on Jan. 22 and worked with navigator Chris Ellis from Healthcare Access Maryland to get enrolled in a Qualified Health Plan.

Joann O. from Montgomery County thought she couldn’t afford coverage.
Joann is a college student who couldn’t afford health coverage. She said her mother is single and also couldn’t afford to keep her on her health insurance plan.

Joann said she started the online application through MarylandHealthConnection.gov but had a few questions, so she went to the Montgomery County offices in Silver Spring for help, and a navigator helped resolve her questions. Joann said, “Everyone needs to take care of themselves. I think it’s [the Affordable Care Act] is a really good program.”

Kamala K. from Gaithersburg got the coverage she needs.
Kamala said she drove 35 minutes from her home in Gaithersburg to the Montgomery County offices in Silver Spring for help from navigator Nguyet Lam.

Kamala, who is 63, enrolled for the first time in Medicaid. She said she’d always been covered through her employer until now. Kamala said she has a few health issues and is happy she’ll be covered so she can continue to see her doctors.

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 iPhone. Open Enrollment for 2017 is November 1 to January 31.

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