Lisa Lewis has spent the last three years hoping and praying that she doesn’t get sick. In early 2017 she started her own business as a graphic designer after losing her job with a company that she worked at for ten years. “I always wanted to go out on my own but I worried about how I was going to pay for health care coverage.” Even though Lewis was mostly healthy, she did have type 2 diabetes and needed to make sure she could get the supplies and medications she needed to manage the chronic disease.
Lewis is one of an estimated 14 percent of black women who are uninsured, compared to eight percent of white women. Nearly one in five low-income Black women is uninsured, compared to nearly one in six low-income white women. Black women in the South have the lowest rates of health insurance coverage among all Black women.
Lewis has struggled to make ends meet while building her business. She says she is definitely juggling her finances while she gets a steady stream of clients and work. “I knew that there was some kind of coverage available, but was sure I couldn’t afford the premiums, so I went without,” Lewis says. “It was scary though. I just tried to do the best I could.”
After seeing a reminder on the beginning of Open Enrollment on the Black Women’s Health Imperative’s Facebook page, Lewis says she decided to go to the Open Enrollment site to see what it would take to get her the coverage she needs. To her surprise there was an option that worked in her budget. “I really didn’t expect that I could do it,” she says. “I am relieved that I did it.” Open Enrollment only lasts from November 1 to December 15, 2019.
Lewis says she went on the site to see what she needed to provide before she went in to enroll, and that made a big difference. The site spells everything out. She was even able to enroll on her phone.
Lewis says she wishes she had done this sooner. “I am really relieved and looking forward to not having to worry about care in 2020,” she says. If you want to know what your options to enroll are go to www.healthcare.gov. #getcovered