Letters to the Editor

Trained island volunteers were a big help signing up for insurance

I am writing to express my gratitude to the volunteers who helped my family sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. If the rest of them are even half as well trained and helpful as Lee Ockinga was, then we are in good hands. And I know that Hilary Emmer put great effort into making this Affordable Care Act accessible in our community.

I have to admit some embarrassment. I work in the health care field, so perhaps I should not have felt intimidated to navigate the website system, but I was. I think I was right to hesitate, too: There were questions I would have had no idea how to answer, but Lee knew just how to handle them. She got us an account with ease and was able to start guiding us in making decisions about which plan to choose. We will have much better coverage than we had before with our catastrophic plan and for less money.

Then she informed us that our son is eligible immediately for Apple Care, the subsidized coverage plan for children from low-income families. I’m a little embarrassed about that, too. But gratitude wins out. Now if he gets sick or injured, I can just worry about his health, not how we will pay for it.

I’m so grateful to Lee and all the other volunteers who spent so many hours learning how to navigate this complicated system so that I could just show up and be led by the hand. And I’m very grateful that we managed to pass this Affordable Care Act, imperfect though it may be, so that my family and I have health coverage we can count on and which we can actually afford.

— Julea Gardener

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