Affordability

  • I feel that I’m a perfect example of who this law is directed toward. It frees up people like me to work toward having a better income in the future.

    Whitney Curtis for The New York Times

    Lyla Turner, Missouri, Insured

    For Lyla Turner, a hairdresser in St. Louis, the Affordable Care Act could hardly have offered a better proposition.

    Ms. Turner, 50, cut her hours to part time last year so that she could follow her passion and work toward an associate degree in digital arts. She lost her employer-sponsored insurance as a result, and was paying $250 in monthly premiums for an individual policy.

    Exploring her options through the new federal insurance marketplace last fall, Ms. Turner learned that her annual salary of about $19,000 made her eligible for a generous subsidy to help with the cost of a marketplace plan. She chose a Coventry Health Care plan that costs only $32 a month after her $320 subsidy is applied.

    “It’s amazingly affordable,” she said. “I feel extremely lucky.”

    Ms. Turner’s bronze-level plan has the same high deductible as her old policy – $5,000 – but offers more benefits, she said. When open enrollment starts in November, she wants to switch to a silver-level plan, which would raise her premiums but lower her deductible and co-payments.

    “Now that I know it’s so cheap,” she said, “I will go back on and see if I can make some changes.”

    The way Ms. Turner sees it, the health care law is allowing her to build her earning power by focusing on college instead of continuing to work 40 hours a week in a job where her income had no potential to grow. She plans to transfer into a bachelor’s program next year, she said, and will look for jobs in digital editing or video production.

    “I feel that I’m a perfect example of who this law is directed toward,” Ms. Turner said. “It frees up people like me to work toward having a better income in the future.”— Abby Goodnough