From $15,000 Chemo Treatments to $60: My #GetCovered Story

Posted March 28, 2014
By Kendall Brown
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

For some 15 years, I’ve cobbled together a strategy for treating my Crohn’s disease, a serious and painful intestinal condition.

Early on, my amazing mother took a clerical job just to get health insurance that would cover me. Even then it wasn’t easy. I have clear memories of my mom at the kitchen table, poring over our finances, trying to find a way to purchase my daily pills.

For a while, I didn’t have insurance until the Affordable Care Act allowed young adults to remain on their parent’s plan until they turned 26. That was a life-saver for me: Right before my 25th birthday, I required surgery to remove nearly two feet of my intestine. Fortunately, my mom’s insurance covered me then.

What Health Reform Is All About: "I logged onto HealthCare.gov and enrolled in a plan that reduces the cost of my $15,000 chemotherapy treatments to $60!" -Kendall Brown, 27, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. HealthCare.gov. But I’m 27 now and don’t have that coverage any more. I’m the only fulltime employee of a local nonprofit and my employer couldn’t afford health benefits. Private insurance quotes cited were in the thousands of dollars.

Even when I bought a plan, the insurance company wouldn’t cover the $15,000 chemo treatments I need every six weeks to manage my disease. I was without treatment for more than year, which a doctor warned me would lead to an early death. But I couldn’t afford the chemo. I briefly got some treatment at a free clinic, but that stopped because the clinic was over capacity.

You can imagine my relief when I logged onto HealthCare.gov and enrolled in a platinum plan. The premium is about $400 a month. I could have selected a much cheaper plan, but this one reduces the cost of my $15,000 chemo to $60! I can afford that.

You may be surprised at how affordable the plans can be. Six out of 10 uninsured Americans can get covered for $100 per month or less – some a lot less.

Whether you have a chronic condition like I do or simply want the peace of mind that comes with quality health insurance, check out your options and sign up for a plan through HealthCare.gov, which is working smoothly, or in Spanish at CuidadoDeSalud.gov.

If you prefer talking to a person, you can call 1-800-318-2596 – in any one of 150 languages – at any time or day. To find in-person help nearby, go to localhelp.healthcare.gov and punch in your zip code.

But you have no time to delay! Sign up today. You have only until March 31st to enroll in a Marketplace plan. Otherwise, you won’t be able to sign up until November for coverage that begins next year.

For me, I don’t think you’ve ever seen a happier person getting chemo. It’s literally going to extend my life expectancy.

Content last reviewed on September 18, 2014