Ed. Note: This is a cross post from Healthcare.gov
Today, 3.1 million people are newly insured thanks to a provision in the law that enables young adults to stay on their parents’ health care plans. Ashley Drew is one of them. Ashley, a young woman from Scarborough, Maine, was born with Cystic Fibrosis, a life-threatening chronic disease. She spends a lot of time in hospitals getting special IV antibiotics, respiratory therapy and physical therapy to clear her lungs and fight infections. One month in the intensive care unit cost her about $144,000; her last stay was for three months.
Ashley was diagnosed with end-stage lung disease and waited on two transplant lists for more than 500 days. She recently successfully underwent a double lung transplant.
Because of the health care law, the Affordable Care Act, young adults under the age of 26 may be able to stay on their parents’ health insurance, and for Ashley, this has made all the difference. Staying on her parents’ insurance allowed her to pursue her education to become a music teacher and to study instrumental conducting – at a pace she could handle with her health condition – and not worry about how to make sure she had coverage.
“The fact that the Affordable Care Act is in effect, it’s amazing, because it’s horrible to have to worry and stress about your health and, in my case, something that everyone takes for granted: breathing,” Ashley says. “Everyone deserves to breathe, but unfortunately without health insurance that’s not a reality for some people.”
Without the security that staying on her parents’ insurance plan provides, Ashley says she would be spending all her time trying to figure out how to come up with the money for her treatment.
Ashley believes the benefits under the law are important for people who don’t have her immediate health concerns as well. “I think the Affordable Care Act brings peace of mind to people all over this country because you don’t know when something’s going to happen,” she says. “Just to know that you have health insurance … You’re not going to lose your car and you’re not going to end up homeless because you got sick.”
Learn more about how the Affordable Care Act is helping Young Adults: For more information:
Dori Salcido is the Acting Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.