COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) – Healthcare heartache.
As open enrollment has ended this year, people in our area who depend on the Affordable Care Act, or ACA, to stay alive are afraid they could lose insurance coverage.
This after a judge ruled the ACA is unconstitutional.
An estimated 17 million Americans depend on the ACA, also known as “Obamacare.” It also prevented companies from denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions and allows kids less than 26-years-old to stay on their parent’s insurance policy.
A local ACA agent said she’s been working the phones, calling her clients, and spreading a very important message for everyone who signed up for coverage next year.
Grandmother Dorothy Williams said she works part-time. She said her employer hasn’t offered her any health insurance, and she can’t pay for anything else, so the Affordable Care Act, or “Obamacare,” is all she’s got.
“I thank God for the Obamacare, because it has really helped me, I might not even be here. Because I truly would not go to the doctor, they not going to see you no way,” William said.
She said she’d suffer, instead.
With a heart condition and diabetes, among other issues, Williams knows all about suffering and depending on the ACA.
So does her ACA Broker, Annie Buckhalter.
“I was one of those people,” Buckhalter said.
Once depending on it herself to survive, Buckhalter now helps others sign-up for what she considers life-saving insurance.
That’s why she was upset by the judge’s ruling.
“Signing people up for insurance on Friday, and had the TV on, and they said that the judge in Texas had just ruled affordable health care unconstitutional. I’m like, what?,” Buckhalter said.
But moments later she said she got an email from her employer, Ambetter, with a much welcomed message.
“Continue to enroll folks, this don’t have any effect on enrollment. Continue to enroll”
She said for all of 2019, the ACA is intact. that’s good news for Williams, who says she’s thankful, but admits she’s already worried about 2020.
“Each year, I’m thinking, ‘is this going to be it?,'” Williams said.
Open enrollment in Alabama and Mississippi ended this weekend.
Buckhalter said people with pre-existing conditions and those less than 26 also don’t need to worry about next year. Of course, beyond that, the future is uncertian.
The judge’s decision came after 20 states, including Mississippi and Alabama, sued over the constitutionality of the law. The lawsuit came after congress removed the part of the ACA that obligated people to have health insurance or pay a fine.