Iâ€™m a pastor at Cumberland First Baptist Church in Indianapolis, and we pastors need health coverage like everybody else. But in 2013, my church could no longer afford the $12,000 my insurance premium cost every year. I couldnâ€™t sustain this expense, and neither could our small congregation. I had to find new coverage.
We werenâ€™t alone. Other local churches could no longer afford to offer insurance to their staff. Our denominationâ€™s benefit board had to stop offering insurance for pastors and employees after so many people were financially forced out of their plans.
Then again, like too many other Americans, buying health insurance on my own was too expensive. I couldnâ€™t afford it.Â Fortunately, I could immediately move over to the Health Insurance Marketplace, established through the Affordable Care Act, where I was able to find quality health coverage that I could affordâ€”and even keep my primary care physician.
Iâ€™m one of the 20 million Americans who have gained coverage because of the Affordable Care Act.
And Iâ€™m able to keep an eye out for better health insurance plans.Â For the past three years, a navigator from ASPIN Health Navigator has actually come to the church and helped me find a plan that best fits my needs.
My premium is $75 a month after the tax credit. I have zero copay for primary care and a $15 copay if I need to see a specialist. I renewed my plan for this year, but initially the deductible had jumped too high for me. The navigator ran all the numbers and found a way to limit the increase in the deductible to an affordable amount.
Iâ€™m basically healthy but I do need coverage for a chronic condition. I also take advantage of the preventive services that donâ€™t cost me anything out of pocket, because of the Affordable Care Act. And itâ€™s reassuring to know that I canâ€™t be discriminated against or denied coverage because of a pre-existing conditionâ€”also thanks to the Affordable Care Act.
I am grateful that there is affordable, quality health coverage available through the Marketplace, and other members of my congregation have also found the Marketplace to be of great help. Knowing we can find affordable health insurance has given us peace of mind.