Mike Simmons: I was declared uninsurable because of my preexisting condition

After going through prostate cancer in the mid-2000s, I was declared uninsurable because of my preexisting condition. Since I wasn’t able to find coverage in the individual or small group markets, after operating my business for nearly 20 years, I was forced to close.  I had to accept a low-level management position, just to obtain group health insurance through my employer.

Once the Affordable Care Act was implemented, I immediately resigned and went back into entrepreneurship with my wife.   We haven’t looked back. Since then, our business has grown exponentially and our economic security has improved. In additional to ourselves, we’ve created three quality jobs and are contributing to Lancaster’s economy.

However, right now the ACA is under assault, and as a result, my rates have gone up considerably. I am still happy to have insurance, but I have gone from paying $719 for a gold plan for my wife and me in 2016, to now paying $1,584 for a bronze plan with a lot more out-of-pocket expenses. That’s a 120 percent increase –for a lower quality plan.

This is a direct result of the Republican sabotage of the ACA. The repeal of the individual mandate, the elimination of cost-sharing reduction payments, and the expansion of junk and short-term health plans all  contributed to the destabilization of the market.  And then President Trump’s Department of Justice went to court to get rid of the ACA’s protections for people with preexisting conditions, like me. And now, the new Supreme Court vacancy puts the entire ACA at risk.  These are insidious attempts to reduce the availability of affordable, quality health insurance.

Simply put, without the ACA, I wouldn’t have been able to purchase quality health insurance, and couldn’t have went back into entrepreneurship.  The Affordable Care Act is vital to my family and our economic future, and the economic future of those who rely on me, including my employees and their families.

Mike Simmons is the owner of Fluent Business Solutions, a QuickBooks consulting and internal accounting firm, in Pennsylvania.