Cecelia Fontenot works part time as an accountant for a trucking company in Houston Texas. She was laid off from her current job back in 2008, and has been without health insurance ever since. After a brief retirement, she had to return to the workforce because her widow’s pension wasn’t enough to cover her medical expenses.
But Fontenot’s current job doesn’t provide her with health insurance, and recently she had to stop buying a drug for her diabetes because she couldn’t afford the $300 per month.
Like many people, website problems prevented Fontenot from enrolling in the healthcare exchanges on the first day. But that didn’t stop her. “Something good, you always have to have a little patience,” she says.
Activists from the Texas Organizing Project–an organization affiliated with SEIU Texas and the Fight for a Fair Economy–encouraged her to sign up for health coverage through the telephone call center of the federal marketplace.
Fontenot is now looking forward to Jan. 1 when the health care kicks in for new enrollees in the exchanges. Several times Cecilia hasn’t been able to afford the second mammogram that her doctors recommend after finding a lump. She has been getting by with prayers, but with insurance she’d be able to get that second mammogram.
She has been telling her friends and neighbors without health insurance to check out their options available under the new law. “Do not be afraid,” Fontenot says. “Go on and sign up. Ask question, get answers, and get covered.”
This article was originally printed on SEIU on November 1, 2013. Reprinted with permission.
Author: Service Employees International Union