Memphis woman shares story of getting insurance through Affordable Care Act

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MEMPHIS, Tenn.-- Elaine was married to the love of her life for 40 years.

A cancer diagnosis in July of 2016, then a recurrence in December, made the last six months the toughest of that time.

"It was in the bone, in the brain, and there was nothing they could do and he passed away at Christmas," said Elaine.

As hard her husband's death has been, Elaine says she's grateful for those last days.

WREG asked, "Do you feel like having that medical care possibly extended his life?

Elaine replied, "Oh, I absolutely know it did."

Elaine is self employed, and for years paid for a personal, health insurance policy.

She says her husband had heart problems before cancer, which meant a pre-existing condition.

"The premium only on me had gone up to roughly $550 a month."

But in 2016, Elaine and her husband got insurance through Obamacare, a Blue Cross Blue Shield plan she says was cost effective, and covered her husband's treatments.

She says it meant a heavy burden was lifted during a difficult time.

"It was just nice to know that you had the coverage, that you didn't have to worry about it, because the bills were up in the thousands."

Elaine enrolled again through Healthcare.gov.

Except this year, with Blue Cross Blue Shield having pulled out of Memphis, Elaine is covered by a Humana plan.

She says it's less expensive, but the deductible is much higher and she has fewer options.

"I lost my doctor that I had had since 1994."

Despite those changes, Elaine says she and her late husband truly benefited from the Affordable Care Act, and she hopes stories like his last days compel lawmakers to pay attention to people, not politics when making decisions about the future.

"Above all its still about people needing care when they get sick," Elaine told WREG.

Anyone who signed up for insurance through the Marketplace for 2017 is locked into their plan.

What happens next is still up in the air.

President Donald Trump issued an executive order to begin rolling back Obamacare. However, there's no clear plan for a replacement.

House Speaker Paul Ryan has introduced a proposal he says will provide greater options, without the federal mandate.

President Trump also recently met with leaders in the pharmaceutical industry and said there needs to be a focus on lowering drug prices.