• Family first—no matter what

    Our family is just like yours: We're just looking for the best way to take care of each other.

    My story is a common one—and that's why I want you to hear it.

    My family is like many families—we’ve had our share of challenges. My husband lost his job (and his coverage) about three years ago. I have had my own business in aviation for 28 years, my husband has started another business of his own. We had to buy insurance on the market as individuals, and it was expensive. My son and I have been denied coverage in the past, too, due to pre-existing conditions. But we made it through, together—and now, we're better off than we ever imagined.

    I’m a two-time cancer survivor. I know how fast things can change. Around 1999, I was first diagnosed with breast cancer, had a mastectomy, and then underwent chemotherapy. Twelve years later, I was diagnosed with a completely different type of breast cancer in my other breast. Even though a mastectomy was necessary, my insurance company denied paying for it until it had gone under review.

    We asked the insurance company how long this review would take, and they replied up to six months. We asked the oncologist and he said I couldn't wait weeks, much less months. When we went back to the insurance company and told them I needed it immediately, they said it was under review again, and I should just wait.

    Cancer is not something you can wait on. That's when my husband and I made the extremely difficult decision to take more than $21,000 from our retirement to start the surgery and have my second breast removed.

    My son had a "pre-existing condition," too. He suffers from hearing loss in one of his ears. When he was originally diagnosed, his doctors predicted he’d be deaf by age 20, but thankfully, his hearing hasn’t declined yet. He has also been diagnosed with attention deficit disorder, and his prescriptions used to cost around $400/month.

    As any mom can tell you, family comes first, and mine is no exception. With all that happened, I told my husband after my second bout with cancer that if it ever came back, we should make the difficult decision not to treat it. We just couldn’t afford it. We had friends who have lost their homes because of the costs of cancer treatments, and I didn't want to put my family through that.

    Luckily, I won’t have to. When the new health insurance marketplace opened, we took advantage of it. Where before we were on three plans, now we’re on one—one plan that works for all of us. We were once paying more than $1,200/month in premiums. Now we’re paying $325. My son’s ADD medication? Down from $100 to $4. Now I know, if anything ever happens, we can make it through. Together.

    We had hoped that when the new marketplace opened that we'd find something more affordable for our family. We were right, and we were blown away by our options. You could be, too: Check out your options before the March 31 deadline.

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