Local News

Subsidy recipient thankful for court ruling

Posted June 25, 2015 5:52 p.m. EDT
Updated June 25, 2015 6:25 p.m. EDT

— Kim Jones was finally able to exhale Thursday after the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the federal subsidies she and millions of others nationwide use to help pay for their health insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

"Had it been taken away, a lot of things would have changed for me. I couldn't afford it," said Jones, who credits the health care law with saving her life.

She went 10 years without health insurance before she was able to get coverage last year on HealthCare.gov, the federal online marketplace for buying subsidized health coverage.

"I was running back and forth from the emergency room for years. I didn’t have a primary care doctor, and I couldn’t afford one," she said. "I was so distressed because I was always sick and I just didn’t feel well."

In 2013, she discovered she had a brain tumor that was pressing on her optic nerve. Getting insurance made it possible for her to have surgeons remove the tumor, she said.

Some Affordable Care Act opponents, however, said Jones and anyone else who got insurance through HealthCare.gov shouldn't be eligible for subsidized coverage because of how the law was written. The Supreme Court rejected that argument, however, ruling that the law was meant to cover the entire United States, not certain states.

"It's a victory for all of us because it’s here to stay. It's not going anywhere," Jones said.

"I'm relieved that 458,000 North Carolinians can continue to get financial help to pay for their health insurance," said Sorien Schmidt, state director for Enroll America, the organization that has helped sign people up for coverage under the health care law. "People are calling to make sure it’s really true."

The subsidies come in the form of tax credits, and Schmidt said people need to check often to see if the credits they qualify for have changed.

"Every year, plans change, premiums change, and that affects what subsidies they qualify for," she said.

Jones said she now looks forward to the day when she won't have to check for such changes.

"Many of us, at some point, won’t need the subsidy. I won't always need the subsidy," she said. "There will come a time when I can afford (health insurance) and others, too."