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Still undecided about getting ACA health coverage? Meet Joie


(Feb. 5, 2015) — Meet Joie. She’s a Seattle hair stylist with the charisma, and artfully tattooed arms, of a rock star. The way she cracks jokes, flashes her magnetic smile and scrunches her pink curls, you can’t help but like this woman.


One would never guess someone as vibrant and energetic as Joie has survived two serious health scares. The first happened eight years ago, with a simple earache that turned out to be a condition called Cholsteatoma. Without surgery, the infection would have destroyed her hearing.  Scarier still, it could have spread to her brain and killed her.  Luckily, Joie had health insurance at the time, through her work, which paid for the surgery.

open-enrollment-ends-Feb15But when she switched jobs, insurance companies refused to cover her because of her pre-existing medical condition.  The few that might have covered her demanded high premiums, far beyond her reach.  So Joie was uninsured for several years.

Then last year, because of the Affordable Care Act, Joie was able to enroll in a silver plan through the Washington Healthplanfinder website.

Thank goodness she signed up when she did. A few months later, her ear started hurting again. Sure enough, her surgeon discovered the condition had returned, threatening her hearing, and her very life. She had surgery; her insurance carrier paid her medical bills, and Joie recovered beautifully from the whole ordeal.

riley-roberta“It is such a relief to know I can get the care I need, when I need it, and I no longer have to worry about my pre-existing condition,” says Joie, as a big smile spreads over her face.

Roberta Riley is the Communications Director for Northwest Health Law Advocates, a non-profit dedicated to health care for all.

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