Every doctor’s visit, and every test, told Alyce the same thing: her pregnancy was perfect, and her baby was healthy. Her son, Sam, “charmed everyone in the delivery room with his good looks” when he was born.
But then things took a turn. Sam’s condition deteriorated in the first few hours after he was born. He wouldn’t feed, and started having difficulty breathing. Things got bad enough that Sam was transferred to the specialized NICU at another hospital, where, over the next few weeks, several previously undetected congenital birth defects were discovered. Sam underwent surgery for some, and specialists worked with Alyce and her husband to come up with treatment plans for the others.This part of the story, thankfully, has a happy ending. While Sam will continue to need specialized care for the rest of his childhood and possibly as an adult, “you wouldn’t know now that anything ever went wrong,” Alyce says. (We couldn’t agree more – just look at that handsome little guy!)
Sam is healthy and alive today because of the doctors, nurses, and staff at the hospital – and because this family had health insurance under the Affordable Care Act.
No parent expects to be hit with over $100,000 in medical bills in the first month of their child’s life, which is why Alyce is so relieved that after going uninsured for more than a year before the opening of the health care marketplace, she and her husband were able to sign up for great insurance coverage, with tax credits that brought it down to a price they could afford.
“My husband and I are self-employed, and could not afford the very expensive premiums for private insurance in Maine [prior to the Affordable Care Act],” Alyce explains. “We quickly signed up for a plan through the exchange because the premium tax credits finally made it affordable.”
Today, the Insurance and Financial Services Committee of the Maine State Legislature will hold hearings on LD 1344, a bill which would establish a state-based health insurance exchange. A state-based exchange will keep our state’s options open to ensure that people across Maine will have continue access to tax credits and coverage. We’ll be at the public hearing today, and Alyce will be there with us to tell Sam’s story.
If you have questions about your health insurance options, medical bills, or would like to know how you can be involved in our efforts to make sure all people in Maine can access quality, affordable health care coverage, call our helpline at 1-800-965-7476. For more information on LD 1344, click here.