The Affordable Care Act went into effect yesterday and millions of people have been signing up. But, there are still questions about what's covered. Dee Griffin went out looking for answers.
Dana Morris is the picture of health today. But five years ago, that picture was blurred by a cancer diagnosis and mounting medical bills that were not covered by her insurance. Morris explains, "my insurance capped out at 100 thousand dollars for the year. So way before I finished with chemo, the herceptin, radiation and then I had to have the right mastectomy done and a hysterectomy, I had no insurance."
Quickly, she became one of millions of under insured, or uninsured, in this country faced with a devastating diagnosis. Making matters worse, six months before her breast cancer treatment was set to end, she was diagnosed with a brain tumor. "When I had the brain tumor, I was scared. I was afraid of being denied at a hospital," Morris recalls.
University Hospital's annual Miracle Mile Walk helps raise funds to provide mammograms and treatment for people who are under insured and uninsured.
Now, the Affordable Care Act is slated to step in to help patients get testing that otherwise would be rejected by most insurance companies. Insurance through the ACA will cover Mammograms, Colorectal Screenings, Well Visits and even Breast Cancer Genetic Test Counseling as well as Contraception. Community Outreach Manager Terri Gant says, "there's a lot covered out there when you talk about preventive health."
Gant says many people were not able to get into the enrollment site due to the large amount of people trying to set up. "We have several sessions set up wit the main library on Telfair Street and registering people for those particular sessions so they can enroll."
After facing nearly one million dollars in treatment, Dana Morris hopes her situation brings the problem of the under insured and uninsured into focus so no one else faces the reality of her nightmare. "Medical bills are always going to be there and there's nothing I can do about it," Morris says.
Everyone must be insured, by an employer or the government's health plan, by the end of next March or face a penalty.
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