Help to Enroll in the ACA

As some of you may know I had major surgery last week.  There was a strong possibility that I had cancer and the only way to be sure (an attempt to do a biopsy had failed) was to remove the offending organ from the body.  I spent a night in the hospital, and I have very good insurance through the Writer’s Guild of America.  But I started getting letters already from the insurance company trying to weasel out of covering me.  I’m grateful I’ve got what I have, and that I have the strength both mental and physical to deal with this, but damn I wish there was a single payor system and my little medical card in this country.  Friends in Australia and Britain and Canada just get their card swiped and go see a doctor and all their records are linked to that card.  Yeah, technology making things easier.

Anyway, having lived most of my life with a pre-existing condition that made the purchase of health insurance either impossible or hideously expensive I am so grateful to the ACA aka Obamacare because it meant I could buy insurance.  In anticipation of the new law New Mexico had put in place a high risk pool for people like me.  Because I have money I paid a lot every month for my individual policy $700, but I could afford it, as sure as hell didn’t want to be without it, and my high payments meant they could help subsidize people of lower means, and that was good by me.  There is nothing more terrifying then facing the cold winds of the world without health insurance.

So now there individuals of ill will who are trying to ensure that people without health care and who are possibly ill will continue to never have the means to see a physician until they end up in the emergency room and at deaths door.  Which will costs the hospitals and the taxpayers a tremendous amount of money.  And in the worst case scenario these people die for lack of simple office visit that might have revealed the health problem.

The Republicans are blocking efforts by churches, schools, sports franchises, etc. to get out the word about how to enroll.  They are turning away people who are ready, willing and able to help get people signed up so they need never face a medical bankruptcy.  It’s frankly immoral.  They are urging young people not to buy insurance.  As if a terrible car wreck or disease can’t strike the young as well as the old.  They lie about the costs to individuals.  What you pay is based on income, and if you have a lower income you get tax subsidies that can be immediately applied to the cost of your insurance.  If you are poor enough medicaid will help at no cost.   If you don’t want to buy the moral argument that a great nation looks out for the health of their citizens then let’s couch it in Republican terms.  “You can’t work sick stock.”  If your people aren’t healthy it cuts down on productivity and companies lose money.  Here’s another approach that won’t talk about caring for “the least among us”, but makes it nicely in your own self interest.  Do you really want your children sitting next to seriously ill kids whose folks can’t afford to take them to the doctor?

In an effort to block this law a major political party is (apparently) willing to shut down the government ensuring that soldiers don’t get paid, social security checks aren’t mailed, passports aren’t issued, national parks are closed, etc. etc.  They also seem willing to go beyond even these Draconian efforts to damage the full faith and credit of the United States resulting in another global financial meltdown.  This is not governance, this is nihilism.

And let’s say they succeed.  They kill The Affordable Care Act.  Millions of people will never get health insurance.  People/children with pre-existing conditions who have managed to get covered will be thrown off their insurance.  Lifetime caps on coverage will be back in place so if you have a sick child who has met those caps — well, too bad.  You are on your own.  I wonder what the Republican advice would be for that couple?  “Expose them”?

I used to be a lawyer and my focus was on Constitutional Law.  I’ve read and watched justices change — if they’re not ideologues.  I think we saw that with Chief Justice John Roberts.  I think he didn’t want to strike down the ACA and then have law students 50 and 100 years from now discussing that this decision was as morally bankrupt as Plessy v. Ferguson, Dred Scott, etc. etc.  I think Roberts realized that if he killed this law he doomed 60 million people to not having access to health care.  Did he really want that on his black robed shoulders?  I don’t think so.

I know I don’t have a lot of readers here, but if you will boost my signal I would really appreciate it because I’m going to give the link for, and I’ve copied in its entirety the page with contact telephone numbers for people who might not have access to the internet.  Print that page out for those people and give it to them.  Let us not deny our less fortunate brethren a chance to be free from the worry of an unexpected illness and the chance to get well before an illness becomes a killer.

Please, please help us push back against this kind of mean spirited obstructionism.  George R.R. Martin lost a dear friend, a fellow writer because she feared to go to the doctor and lose the only thing of value that she owned — her home that had been in the family for generations.  She lost it anyway because she died from a preventable heart attack because she couldn’t afford to see  a doctor. Let’s make sure theses kinds of stories never happen again and will seem quaint to our children and grandchildren like the evils in a fairytale because no great nation or people of good will could act this way.

Here is the link.

The Guide to Getting Health Care Under the ACA


And here is the page with telephone numbers that I promised.

Contact Us

By phone

We’re available 24/7


TTY: 1-855-889-4325


Small businesses resources

Have questions about the SHOP Marketplace for businesses with 50 or fewer employees?

Call: 1-800-706-7893

TTY: 1-800-706-7915

Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST. Agents and brokers may also use this number.


Chat Online

A great way to ask simple questions



Find local help

Get personal help finding and managing your health coverage…

Enter city and state or zip code (Example: “Austin, TX” or “33109”)



Want answers fast?

Just answer a few quick questions to find out what programs you may qualify for and learn about topics that matter most to you.



Help in your community

In all states, there will be people trained and certified to help you understand your health coverage options and enroll in a plan. They will be known by different names, depending on who provides the service and where they are located. All will provide similar kinds of help:

  • Navigators
  • Application assisters
  • Certified application counselors
  • Government agencies, such as State Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) Offices

Insurance agents and brokers can also help you with your application and choices.

Visit to find help in your area. You can search by city and state or zip code to see a list of local organizations with contact information, office hours, and types of help offered, such as non-English language support, Medicaid or CHIP, and Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP).

When open enrollment starts October 1, 2013, these organizations will be able to assist you in finding the kind of help that works for you. Some may be available earlier to set up a future appointment to help you in the Marketplace.


Get news and updates by email or text

You can sign up for Marketplace emails and texts now to learn about key dates, news, and information that will prepare you to enroll.


7 Responses to Help to Enroll in the ACA

  • Erin Underwood says:

    Thank you, Melinda. I’m boosting the signal.

  • Great post Melinda. Just the threat of not having health care is a terrible thing. The disinformation campaign that the Republicans have waged for purely political reasons is a travesty.

  • Excellent, Melinda. Thank you, and I did share this. I hope you’re well!


  • C. J. Mills says:

    Thanks. I have insurance but two of my adult children don’t. This link will be a BIG help.

  • Melinda Snodgrass says:

    Happy to help. C.J. The chance to have the security of health insurance is priceless and god damn the people who are trying to deny this to our fellow citizens.

  • Ray Low says:

    Nice comment, Melinda.

    Kudos to you for this posting. I certainly hope the message is carried far and wide.

    As an outsider looking in (I live in Ontario, Canada), the U.S. issues with healthcare has always been a topic of much discussion and contradiction. I don’t propose to be familiar with all the intricacies and, I suppose, my exposure to universal healthcare has introduced a somewhat biased perspective on my part. I wouldn’t be so bold as to say it was perfect here in Canada. There are some challenges and, I suspect, a strain on the system as our population gets older and us Baby Boomers near retirement age. But the system seems to work and been of benefit for everyone.

    As for the U.S., I often ask myself, why wouldn’t you want the same and give aid to your fellow human being? Of what possible threat is Obamacare? Looking back I understand both Ted Kennedy and the Clintons once tried to spearhead plans for more equitable access to healthcare but failed due to tremendous opposition. In Michael Moore’s documentary “Sicko”, it was mentioned the consideration of a universal health plan brings with it the spectre of Socialism and the fear of more government control in the lives of Americans. But is this fear rational or imagined? Is it just fearmongering from the Republicans? It’s unfortunate our society is comprised of those who have and those who have not. (With this divide getting larger every year). But it’s unthinkable to believe access to healthcare should only be available to those who can afford it and not be extended to everyone.

    This is obviously a hot topic of late with a number of people weighing in. Here are a few links of interest that I hope will convince people to do the right thing and look at solutions versus attacking the President and Obamacare.

  • Melinda Snodgrass says:

    Thank’s for your perspective, Ray. It’s interesting and informative to hear from someone in another country. The resistance to single payor is partly due to Republican fearmongering. And there is this pernicious strain in the American psyche that “I don’t need nobody for nothin’. I’m John Wayne, I’m a rugged individualist.” What none of these rugged individualists understand is that they couldn’t take this stance with out community to support civil society. There is such a thing as the common good.

    I really wish the Dems had just pitched “Medicare for all”. Everybody (aside from a few insane people on the right) love Medicare. They’ve watched their grandparents or parents receive care. Frequently I hear from middle aged people — “If I can just hang on until I get Medicare.” Which is government funded health care. It would make everything so much simpler. You should see the letters getting generated over my surgery between hospital and insurance company.

    You can alway have insurers provide Cadillac coverage that people of means can purchase. You buy a policy that sends you to a private hospital, gets you a private room, etc. But at least you know that all of your fellow citizens are getting a basic level of care so they don’t go bankrupt or die for lack of access.

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