'Invincible' Raleigh woman glad to have health insurance
Posted December 17, 2013
Raleigh, N.C. — Kat Robison left graduate school and a job in Pittsburgh last May to move back to her hometown of Raleigh to take care of her grandmother, who suffers from dementia and a balance disorder.
In abandoning her job, Robison lost her health insurance. Buying coverage on her own has always been too expensive because she suffers from asthma and migraines, two pre-existing conditions that led to higher premiums.
Under the Affordable Care Act, however, she was able to find health insurance to fit her budget.
"It was really refreshing to fill out the application at HealthCare.gov and not be asked about pre-existing conditions," she said.
The 28-year-old is among the "young invincibles" – people ages 18 to 34 who are typically healthy – considered crucial to the success of the health insurance marketplace under the Affordable Care Act. If more of them buy coverage, it spreads the insurance risk and helps keep premiums down.
Robison said she had problems enrolling through the federal website, which was plagued with problems for weeks after its Oct. 1 launch. After repeated tries and several phone calls, she was able to find a plan and pay her initial monthly premium.
“As someone who has tried it since Day One, I can definitely see improvements in the site,” she said.
She qualifies for federal subsidies, so the gold-level plan she chose from Coventry Health Care of the Carolinas will cost her only $51.18 a month. The plan, which has a $500 deductible and a $5,000 limit on out-of-pocket costs, allows her to go to her primary care physician for free.
"I’ve actually been needing to go to the doctor, but because of financial aspects of being able to afford going to the doctor, I haven’t," she said. "As soon as I enrolled, I called and made an appointment ... on Jan. 6."
Robison said she knows not every "young invincible" will be convinced.
"I have some friends who have no intention of getting health insurance because they see it as one more bill," she said.
She, on the other hand, sees health coverage as one more blessing.
"Just to have that peace of mind, if something happens, it won't bankrupt me," she said. "I don't think I'll ever regret taking a few years off my life to make sure the end of (my grandmother's) is much better."