Ed. note: This is cross-posted from Healthcare.gov.
Ashley Matthews, recent graduate of the University of Miami School of Law, considers herself very aware of what is going on the world. But she admits, “Because I am so young, health care never entered my universe.” That is, until she got into a car accident one evening. That’s when she realized she didn’t have health insurance.
As she recalls: “I’m laying on the hospital bed … my shoes were knocked off my feet, my tooth is chipped and my knee is bleeding and I thought about the fact that I had just graduated from undergrad [and] I had no health care insurance because I wasn’t on my parents’ plan and this is right before the Affordable Care Act.” Although the doctor wanted her to stay in the hospital for treatment, Ashley and her friends quickly left because she would not be able to afford the care without health insurance. “The threat of the bills was enough to send me running from the hospital,” she says.
Because of the Affordable Care Act, Ashley was later able to be added to her parents’ insurance. More than 3 million young adults have been able to gain health insurance through their parents’ health plans until they turn age 26 as a result of the new health care law. “When I found out that I could stay on my parents’ insurance, it was like a blessing,” she says.
Ashley, who now has a job and health insurance through her employer, says she wants other young adults to find out about the protections afforded by the health care law because “you never know what’s going to happen in life. … You never know when that one accident will change your life … You’re one diagnosis away from being destitute.”
“The Affordable Care Act has meant stability to me and it’s meant peace of mind” Ashley says. “I would want everyone to please just take advantage of the opportunities that have been created by the Affordable Care Act.”
Learn more about how the Affordable Care Act is helping Young Adults: For more information:
Dori Salcido is the Health and Human Services Acting Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs