Ed. note: This is cross-posted from healthcare.gov.
Jill from North Carolina is a writer and a tutor, but she’s also a runner. A few years ago, she was even training for the Olympic trials in the marathon. But one day, she suddenly passed out in a parking lot. She was diagnosed with a heart condition, atrioventricular nodal reentrant tachycardia (AVNRT).
The good news was that the condition could be remedied with a surgical procedure.
The bad news was that Jill could not afford the surgery.
For years following her diagnosis, she lived within reach of a cell phone just in case she had to call 911. Her condition worsened. “I did stop running; I stopped exercising completely because any kind of exertion would trigger an episode. So I went from running marathons competitively to doing nothing,” Jill says.
She applied for insurance that might cover her surgery, but was turned down due to her pre-existing condition. Her appeal was denied.
There didn’t seem to be a place in the health care system for her situation.
In 2011, Jill heard about the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP). PCIP is a program created by the health care law. It is designed to provide affordable health coverage for people who were otherwise locked out of the private system. It also serves as a bridge to 2014, when insurance companies are prohibited from refusing to sell coverage based on someone’s pre-existing condition.
Jill applied for PCIP. “It took about about 10 minutes to fill out the online application. I received a [approval] letter two weeks later,” Jill says. In another two weeks, she had her surgery. It’s been over a year since her surgery and Jill hasn’t had another episode. She’s running every single day again.
“The Affordable Care Act---and PCIP program in particular--allows me to pursue what I love to do and have medical coverage and have the comfort of having that medical coverage,” Jill says. “So I don’t have to worry if I have an injury, or an illness, or an accident, that I’m going to go bankrupt; I’m going to lose everything.”