News

Couple falls through the cracks of the Affordable Care Act

Written by Ben Allen, General Assignment Reporter | May 8, 2014 4:00 AM

(Harrisburg) -- The Obama administration touts how more than eight million people, including about 318,000 Pennsylvanians, have chosen a health plan through exchanges offered as part of the Affordable Care Act. But there may be thousands in Pennsylvania hidden behind those numbers. 

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Delores Reinecker and her husband Rick live in Manchester Township in York County and signed up for insurance through Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield using the federal exchange in late March. Delores says their premium would've been about $200 a month. But they can't even afford that.

"We just can't keep using all of our 401(k) money. We have to pay our monthly bills, we have a house payment, we have all these bills that we have," says Delores.

"After a while, that's going to be dwindling away."

Both have major medical expenses.

Delores's breast cancer is in remission, but drugs to keep it at bay cost hundreds of dollars, and Rick is coping with emphysema that can sometimes send him to the emergency room.

They've had insurance nearly all their life, until Rick was laid off and they lost it.

So despite registering for a plan, they haven't been able to pay a premium yet.

It is just one case, but the Reinecker’s case can be illustrative of the remaining gaps in the system.

Neither are eligible for Medicare yet, it's unclear whether they could get other financial assistance from the state.

Delores says for now, they'll continue to rely on Healthy York Network, a discount program for those who don’t have insurance.

"You know, all of our life, we've been fine, and now I got cancer and can't work, and then my husband gets laid off, and it's just like our whole world's just shattered."

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