John & Fran, Springfield

John and Fran and are in their fifties and thinking about retirement. They know that without the ACA, they would likely be bankrupt. John has a master’s degree, is a musician and teaches at all the area colleges and local Boys & Girls Clubs. Fran works at a local restaurant. They both lead a healthy lifestyle, but neither of their employers offered health insurance so they had been uninsured for decades.

John and Fran purchased a plan through the ACA several years ago. Subsidies made their plan affordable and they pay $300/month. For the first time in decades, Fran and John had access to health insurance. After a run one day, John had blurred vision and sharp pain in his head. It turned out to be severe case of shingles, which spread to his eyes. Thanks to the ACA, John was able to get the treatment he needed immediately, including having access to a vision specialist and undergoing necessary tear duct surgery.

Without insurance through the ACA, his surgery would have been over $15,000 – he would have either been deeply in debt or gone without the treatment he needed. Losing ACA coverage would mean losing the ability to see the specialists John needs to see once a year and going without his needed prescriptions to manage his risk of glaucoma. The subsidies make health care affordable for Fran and John. “There’s no way we could afford coverage without the ACA,” says Fran.

Both Fran and John say that having health insurance allows them to be productive members of society. John says it is extremely stressful watching politicians talk about taking away the ACA. John and Fran are in their late 50s. They say without affordable health care and coverage, it’s incredibly tough to figure out a retirement plan and not be in debt.