JoAnn Smith, a 60-year-old Florida woman, is making headlines as the latest Obamacare success story. Smith told NBC News that she "just instantly burst into tears" when she was able yesterday to sign up for a $3.19 a month health insurance policy through Obamacare.
Smith described the low-cost of her federally-subsidized plan as "totally mind-blowing" and praised the Obamacare call center agent who assisted her sign-up as "the most loveliest of helpers."
Previously, the aging Smith had been uninsured. The company for which Smith is a medical transcriptionist does not offer coverage to its employees.
"They took a vote at the company and people wanted more money in their pockets," Smith was reported as saying. "I have had four paycuts in one year."
Smith's new, highly affordable Obamacare policy will cover her household, including her unemployed husband Eric, age 56.
Republicans who are praying for the failure of Obamacare do not want stories like the one told by JoAnn Smith to get out, but Smith's Obamacare success story bodes well for Democrats running for re-election in 2014.
Smith expressed continued shock that after months of difficulty, Obamacare's sign-up process is now working well enough that her application 'took seconds to complete' according to NBC. Smith now only has to confirm payment with her new insurer:
"I am kind of afraid to call them because I feel like it's a trick. I am afraid I will call and they will say 'JoAnn who?'"
Obamacare backers aim for the law to improve the quality of healthcare for Americans by:
- Providing insurance federally through healthcare.gov
- Providing insurance through state-based website exchanges
- Providing coverage by increasing the availability of Medicaid
- Eliminating insurance denials or extra charges based on gender or pre-existing health status
- Eliminating junk insurance policies and instead setting national standard for high quality coverage
Those new national standards include requirements that policies always cover prescriptions, hospitalizations, and emergency room care. The standards have led insurers to cancel the junk policies of Americans whose previous insurance did not include these benefits, deemed essential by Obamacare, rather add the benefits to those plans.
Those cancellations combined with rollout glitches led to weeks of bad press for Obamacare. Success stories like that of JoAnn Smith might indicate that many Americans will instead find cheaper coverage through Obamacare, and that the health overhaul's worst days have passed.