June 28--As a breast-cancer survivor struggling to afford her health insurance, Joanne Boyer was set to be outraged on Thursday, June 28.
But with the Supreme Court's decision to uphold the federal health care law, Boyer, 59, of St. Louis Park said she was both surprised and relieved.
"It gives me great hope," said Boyer, who obtains insurance coverage through a special high-risk pool for Minnesota residents. "When you're in these high-risk pools with high-deductible policies, you don't really have health care coverage -- you have catastrophic care coverage."
The Supreme Court's ruling upholds a mandate for individuals to obtain health insurance coverage beginning in 2014. With the mandate come insurance market reforms that will prevent health plans from denying coverage to people with pre-existing health care problems.
Last year, pre-existing condition exclusions kept Boyer from shopping around for a new individual insurance policy, she said. Meanwhile, she didn't feel she could stick with her existing policy because the premium kept going rising, even though the coverage came with a high deductible.
Boyer ultimately opted to buy coverage through the Minnesota Comprehensive Health Association, a nonprofit created by the Minnesota Legislature in 1976 for people to obtain insurance when they lacked other options. Boyer said she's thankful for the program -- called MCHA, for short -- but anticipates having more choices for affordable coverage starting in 2014
due to the health care law.
With her current coverage, Boyer said she's constantly evaluating whether to skip tests or doctor visits in order to avoid accumulating more bills. In many cases, coverage with her current health plan doesn't kick in until she has satisfied a $10,000 deductible.
"I believe it's going to be better," Boyer said.
Christopher Snowbeck can be reached at 651-228-5479. Follow him at twitter.com/chrissnowbeck.
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