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posted: 2/10/2014 5:00 AM

ACA is working for people already

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Those who have delayed signing up for the ACA (Obamacare) are taking a risky gamble with their health and finances. Nothing better exemplifies this than the story told by President Obama during his State of the Union address. Amanda Shelly from Arizona had gone years without health insurance. Finally, on Jan. 1 her ACA policy took effect. On Jan. 3, she felt a sharp pain in her chest. On Jan. 6 she underwent emergency heart surgery that could have resulted in bankruptcy had it not been for her health coverage.

A 2007 Harvard study found that medical expenses account for 62 percent of bankruptcies in the U.S. Hopefully those statistics will diminish as more people like Amanda sign up. For the first time in their lives they no longer have to gamble with their health or finances, praying they don't get sick or have an accident. No longer will they have to rely on the emergency room for medical care, which causes costs to be passed on to taxpayers and contributes to rising health care costs.

Then, there are the cautionary stories. My friend's boyfriend risked going uninsured for years and recently had an accident. Now he is signed up for the ACA but is in debt. Or, the story of my friend's 32-year-old son, who defiantly remains uninsured and vows to pay the penalty that goes up each year. She worries that if he should have a medical emergency, he may be bankrupted, a cost far greater than a penalty, even though he may be eligible for cost-free Medicaid.

The March 31 deadline is approaching. Sign up for the ACA to avoid a risky gamble with your health and finances.

Christine Johanson Ross

Buffalo Grove

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