Nov – 2016: I visited The White House! Before I continue with my story, I want you to know I paid my own way and bought my own flight. None of this trip or post is sponsored or compensated. I’m simply sharing the info below for those of you who are interested!
I’m a full-time artist and affordable healthcare is crucial to me. The government’s Health and Human Services Department reached out to online influencers like myself who use the HealthCare.gov insurance! We were invited to meet with their team to celebrate the open enrollment kick-off, as well as ask questions from the staff. They wanted to hear our stories and discuss ideas to get the word out about Open Enrollment.
Last year I shared about how Patrick and I signed up for health insurance through HealthCare.gov. It was one of the determining factors for me leaving a full-time salaried spokesperson job to go out on my own as a full-time speaker/artist/writer/designer/blogger. I felt hesitant at first to even go to the site. I’d heard so much controversy and such. But we couldn’t go without health insurance, so I took it page by page and shopped it out to see for myself. I assumed we might not qualify or it might be too pricey.
I’m so glad I followed through. My assumptions were soooo wrong.
I discovered the HealthCare.gov insurance was affordable, so we went with it! It gave us peace of mind to be able to focus on building our business. I HATE going to the doctor, as does Patrick. But there were times this year when we had to go and it didn’t break the bank. It removed the fear and stress. We were able to sign Maya on our plan, since she is 23 and also freelance.
Fast forward to last month when all the headlines came out about increases. I’ll admit, I sighed. I thought it seemed too good to be true. However, I went back into the site and priced it out to find my current plan wasn’t offered anymore, but another was – for the same amount of money, deductible, all of it. Now that Maya has a full-time job with benefits, it will be just myself and Patrick for next year.
I’m told that one of the reasons my name appeared on the invite list was because Phoenix (my home city) has the highest number of uninsured people. I’m happy to share my story in the hopes it will help others at least look into it. My advice is to go to the HealthCare.gov site and price it out. Don’t avoid it because of the headlines, see for yourself. If it works, great! If not, well, at least you know. I do know they have plans that start as low as $75 a month (we pay $120).
Two days before the trip, I learned I could invite a guest. I knew EXACTLY who I wanted to invite – Amber Aziza! I’ve blogged about her before! I first discovered her on Periscope, she has sold two multi-million dollar businesses by the age of 30, and she now helps others build their businesses as well. She’s always been such an inspiration to me, and very kind! She lives in D.C. and was elated to participate in the day’s adventures!
Meeting Amber in person, and hanging out with her, was such a highlight to the experience. Visiting The White House is exciting enough, but to partner up with such a motivated, positive friend made it all the more special.
Once we made it past the heavy-duty security, I saw another friend there – Theresa from MyFixItUpLife!
After a round of selfies and ussies, we sat to learn all about #ACA Open Enrollment.
One thing that struck me immediately was how passionate the staffers were. They helped 21 million Americans sign up for health insurance and we heard many moving stories from individuals and businesses who used it to better their lives.
After that, we went into the Secretary of State War Room (!!!!) to learn even more details from the staff.
Our group included bloggers, radio personalities, event planners, and performers. We each took turns sharing our health insurance stories.
Before I left Arizona, I spoke with a friend recently who told me she didn’t plan to have insurance because she is freelance, healthy, has no kids and would rather take the chance of going without. I took her concerns to the meeting!
Secretary Sylvia Burwell gave me answers! First of all there is the $695 fee for those who do not have health insurance, plus the plan includes annual check ups, low prescription prices and think about it – if you have a horrible ear infection and have to go to urgent care, boom! All of the above can be as much as the annual amount you would pay monthly.
I can’t guarantee this will be the case for each person, all I can say is if you don’t have health insurance, at least go to the site and price it out! That’s what I did!
Oh! And look at the souvenir we received, a signature box of chocolate with Hershey’s Kisses, President Obama’s favorite! I mean this totally bipartisan – how cool is it to be in The White House and hold presidential chocolates in your hand?
After our meetings, we went on a little tour! We even did a Mannequin Challenge! https://twitter.com/SecBurwell/status/798218411360788480
Yes, it all felt so big and epic. Standing atop history! Knowing that so many POTUS and FLOTUS walked these halls and sat in these chairs.
Tomorrow, the Health and Human Services Department is launching the #CoverageMatters campaign. If you use the marketplace insurance, share your stories on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram using #CoverageMatters. Share what the Affordable Care Act means for you.
If you want to learn more about coverage, Secretary Burwell will launch the #CoverageMatters campaign at 11:15 AM EST on Tuesday (11/22) during an event in her home state of West Virginia. She will hear directly from people who have benefited from the different elements of the ACA.
From the staff:
“The #CoverageMatters campaign is for anyone to share how their health coverage is stronger under the ACA. We want to hear from the 150 million Americans with employer coverage who no longer have to worry about lifetime or annual limits. We want to hear from the millions of Americans we now benefit from coverage under Medicaid expansion. And we want to hear from Americans who have benefited from protections prohibiting discrimination against people with pre-existing conditions and those who have taken advantage of no-cost preventive care, such as annual wellness visits and contraceptive care. Maybe coverage means you finally got that check-up you’ve been putting off. Maybe it means you could breathe a little easier because your daughter and grandson are now covered by Medicaid. Maybe it means your parents can save some money on prescription drugs since the Affordable Care Act began closing the Medicare Part D “donut hole.” Or maybe it means you could finally take that business idea and run with it, knowing that you weren’t tied to a job just to stay covered.”
If you are in need of health insurance, check it out! And if you are enrolled, be sure to share your story! Thanks for reading, hope this helps!