Every day, thousands of Americans write President Obama about the issues that matter most to them -- and my job is to help sort through them. This post is the first in a series that will help highlight the stories of Americans who have written the President about the Affordable Care Act and what it means to them. Starting November 15, you can visit HealthCare.gov to shop for and enroll in a plan that works for you.
The voices of people across America inform the President and give him invaluable perspective on the progress we've made -- as well as the work we've got left to do. If you want to write the President yourself, you can do that here.
--Russ and Linda Dickson
For too long, millions of Americans’ only way of obtaining access to comprehensive health insurance was through their jobs.
Many people found themselves staying at jobs only for the insurance it provided for them and their loved ones, keeping them from going back to school, starting a new career, striking out as entrepreneurs, or taking time off to care for family. This changed when the Health Insurance Market Place opened last year, making affordable, high-quality health insurance available to everyone even if they couldn’t get coverage through their jobs and even if they had a pre-existing condition.
Russ and Linda Dickson are experiencing this new freedom. Russ found that, as he neared retirement age, one of the main reasons he stayed in his long-term job was for the health insurance. But when the Marketplace opened last fall, Russ and Linda had a new way to secure affordable, comprehensive insurance for themselves.
They wrote to the President last October to share their story and their excitement over starting a new business, saying: "Because we now have access to affordable healthcare, we have now signed a long-term lease to open a retail business in Georgetown, Texas."
Russ and Linda described the opportunity these new options created not only for them, but also for other small business owners in their community who are opening businesses alongside theirs. When President Obama visited Austin a few months ago, he stopped by to see Russ and Linda, and they told him that this law has changed their life in the best way possible.
This year’s open enrollment period begins on November 15, 2014. Starting this Saturday, you can shop for coverage -- like the Dicksons’ -- that fits your needs and your budget at HealthCare.gov. The high-quality health insurance offered through the Marketplaces features strong protections that many insurance companies didn’t provide before, and no one can be denied or charged more based on pre-existing conditions. Low- and middle-income families are eligible for financial assistance that lowers their monthly premiums and finally makes coverage affordable, while other low-income families may find that they are eligible for their state’s Medicaid program.
The Affordable Care Act is ensuring that all Americans have access to high-quality, affordable health insurance, giving them the freedom to pursue a new career, open a new business like the Dicksons, or retire without worrying where they will get their health care. Maybe you want to do the same or you are one of the millions of Americans who have historically lacked access to affordable health insurance. See your options for yourself on November 15 at HealthCare.gov.