Marketplace #GetCovered Story

Alicia, 39, and Rusk, 37, have been married for 14 years, and have two sons, 11 and 7. Alicia, a former teacher, and Rusk, who owns an auto repair shop, did not have health insurance until the Health Insurance Marketplace opened last year. The 2015 premium for Rusk and Alicia is $373 a month, much less than the $540 quote they got before the Affordable Care Act. They did not get tax credits to lower their premium.

This is their story about what getting Marketplace coverage means to them:

Alicia: Getting health insurance through the Marketplace was a big moment in my life. As a Latina, we tend to forget about ourselves and focus solely on our families, so the idea that I would be able to take care of my own needs is extraordinary. I wish I had done it a lot sooner.

We used our health care insurance as soon as we were able to get it. I went to my general practitioner and gynecologist; I had my mammogram and blood tests done, as well as other exams I’d been putting off.

There’s a history of breast cancer in my family, so I also had a BRAC test to see if I was carrying the cancer gene. Because of the Affordable Care Act, the test was a covered preventive service without any out-of-pocket cost. Fortunately, the test came back negative.

After checking off all of those health to-do’s, I was energized and ready to tackle just about anything. It’s a relief for me because, as a mom of two boys, I want to be around for them for a long time.

When mom gets sick, the whole family feels it. If I want to be the best mom I can be, I know I have to take care of myself. Now that I’m covered I know I can do that.

Rusk: I’ve never had health insurance. I’m fairly young; I work out; I try to eat right; so I never thought that I actually needed it. But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that just because you don’t have the illnesses of an older individual, it doesn’t mean you’ll never need care. If you get hurt playing sports, a surgery could set you back financially. Insurance comes in pretty handy for something like that.

Health insurance gives me and my family peace of mind. It helps you sleep better. I wouldn’t drive without insurance, there’s too much to lose. And I realized that my health is more important than any car, especially if I could risk burdening my wife or kids with crazy medical bills. Getting covered is more than a precaution; it’s the right thing to do.

And with such a user-friendly website, it was very easy to sign up on the Marketplace. You don’t have to be a computer whiz to figure it out. We found a plan that was affordable and covered the things that we thought we would need. Like my wife said, it was a relief!

You, too, can check out your options for affordable, quality insurance through the Marketplace and find out if you qualify for assistance to lower the cost of your premium at Or if you prefer talking to a person, you can call 1-800-318-2596 (TTY: 1-855-889-4325), any time, any day. Enroll by January 15 for coverage that begins February 1. Open enrollment lasts through February 15.

Posted January 12, 2015 by HHS
By Alicia Elatassi, 39, Houston and Rusk Elatassi, 37, Houston

Author: Thomas DeMichele

Thomas DeMichele is the head writer and founder of,, and other websites. He has been in the health insurance and healthcare information field since 2012. is a...

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