For years, Ann worked hard to keep her small business profitable and earn enough to live on without a lot left over for “frills” like private health insurance. That’s why, when the Affordable Care Act was implemented, she was optimistic about finally getting health insurance she could afford – at first. It turns out, when she applied for coverage under the Oregon Health Plan, Ann learned that her income was barely too high to qualify. Under the plan she did qualify for, the premiums and out of pocket costs necessary to access care were prohibitively expensive, forcing her to seek treatment at free clinics or even forgo care altogether.
“It’s great to have a piece of paper saying you’re insured,” says Ann, “but that doesn’t mean a whole lot if you can’t afford to pay the premiums and out of pocket costs, and there was just no way I could. I was terrified.”
That’s why Ann was so relieved when the Coalition of Community Clinics referred her to Project Access NOW and our Premium Assistance Program which helped Ann pay her premiums so that she could access the care she needed without going broke. And when Ann came down with fever of 103.6 one night in June, it was our Premium Assistance Program that gave her the confidence to go right to the emergency room instead of waiting for cheaper care in the morning, a decision that doctors now say likely saved her life.
“They said, at the rate my fever was climbing, I would have probably wound up either dead or with severe brain damage if I had waited. Your program was the reason I didn’t hesitate.”
Ann is grateful the Premium Assistance Program was there for her when she needed it. She enjoys giving back to the community and, with her sister Sara, runs the Community Quilt Project, making quilts for people facing illness and other hardships.