By: Chad Mason, 36, Lynchburg, Virginia
After I graduated from college, I started lifting weights as a hobby. Now it helps me release stress. I enjoy doing it. I enjoy competing. It makes me feel good about myself.
Pound for pound, I was the strongest in my gym. I was bench pressing 315 pounds. Then I started feeling pain in my left shoulder. But I didn’t have health insurance to take care of it, so I did some self-rehab: I tried icing it; I tried heating. It wasn’t enough.
I work in a restaurant where our only benefits are tips and free food. But thanks to the Affordable Care Act, I was able to get covered through the Health Insurance Marketplace last year and take care of that shoulder.
With my insurance card in hand, I went to the doctor, who told me I would either have to stop lifting weights or get surgery.
I’m so glad I listened to my body and got covered through the Marketplace. I’ve cut down my lifting to about 135 pounds while I recover from shoulder surgery this past May, covered under my Marketplace plan. Thanks to my insurance, I haven’t had to give up my passion for weightlifting. And since the bills related to the surgery didn’t leave me broke, I’m hoping to go back to school one day to study kinesiology and become a physical therapist.
My premium for 2014 coverage was only $17 after tax credits. After I started experiencing some trouble with my knee, I decided to enroll in a 2015 plan that costs me $30 a month, after tax credits, but also covers my preferred knee doctor. I decided it was an increase I could afford.
If you don’t have insurance, you can use HealthCare.gov to check out your options for new plans. You can find affordable coverage that meets your needs and the website will let you know if you qualify for assistance to lower the cost of your premium. If you prefer talking to a person, you can call 1-800-318-2596 (TTY: 1-855-889-4325), any time, any day.
Don’t delay taking action – if you, or someone you know, needs health care coverage – February 15 is the deadline to enroll in plan for 2015. After February 15 – you can enroll or change plans for 2015 only if you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period.
Getting insurance helped me stay in the weightlifting game. I think my health insurance is really good. Plain and simple.