ACA Success Stories: Erin and Neal from Austin, TX


I was diagnosed with lupus when I was 16 years old. After college, I began working for a nonprofit that did not offer health insurance. I called all the major health insurance providers but was told over and over again that they could not insure me due to my preexisting condition. Later, after finding a new job, I learned that my preexisting condition would not be covered for the first 10 months. Naïve to this, I saw my specialist immediately after receiving coverage. I incurred $1,200 in medical bills that the insurance company refused to pay because the care was related to my preexisting condition. Although I have since paid these bills off in full, they negatively affected my credit for a few years while I realized they would not be covered and figured out how to slowly pay them off at $50 a month.

I work full time as a birth parent counselor for an adoption agency. I contribute to society and pay my taxes. Working in the nonprofit sector, I cannot afford to see a rheumatologist and pay for my medications out of pocket. Without access to these things I would die.

Now, my boyfriend who has a dual diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis, is covered through the ACA Marketplace. Without health insurance, he would not have access to the rheumatologist he needs to see to order his labs and prescribe his medications – medications he needs to live. If the Affordable Care Act is repealed, he would no longer have access to the care and treatment he needs to survive. He eventually would have to stop working, get on disability, and his only access to healthcare would be visits to the ER until he dies.

We do not consider ourselves disabled at this point in our lives, and in order to remain healthy members of the workforce, we need access to thorough healthcare coverage at affordable rates. Please do not repeal the ACA. It saves lives. It certainly saved ours.

The Cover Texas Now Coalition is looking for stories like Melanie’s. We’d like to know how the Affordable Care Act or Medicaid have helped you and your family. Are you willing to share your story with us? If so, please visit this page and tell us how these programs have affected you.