STORIES

Julie – Shepherd, MT

The ACA took a weight off my shoulders and helped me breathe a sigh of relief. I could no longer be denied coverage due to my MS.

I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 2011, five months before the Affordable Care Act passed. I spent those months terrified my life was going to involve a constant struggle to maintain insurance and fights with insurance companies over coverage. The ACA took a weight off my shoulders and helped me breathe a sigh of relief. I could no longer be denied coverage due to my MS.

montana health coverage mattersAs an otherwise healthy 32 year old, MS was a shocking and devastating diagnosis. Without the ACA, my life would be a nightmare. I’m protected in so many ways by this law; ways that people don’t even think about or realize until they’re in the position of having a catastrophic illness, which in my case is ongoing and has no cure.

The preexisting condition clause is the most commonly cited example of how the ACA helped people access insurance, but there are other parts of this law that have been important to me: the elimination of yearly and lifetime limits on coverage, the refusal to cover certain medications, etc. These limits seem large, but having a chronic illness makes you realize it’s possible to reach them with just routine check-ups and procedures.

If the ACA is repealed, and I have to rely on alternatives like high risk pools or health savings accounts– neither of which are adequate for my disease– my future is again unstable, due this time to the callous disregard of human decency, rather than the effects of MS.