At 28, Stacy Cook was diagnosed with breast cancer. She had health insurance through her job, and got the treatment she needed.
But when Stacy, an American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network volunteer, was diagnosed with breast cancer for a second time eight years later, she wasn’t so lucky. Although she had health insurance, it only covered a tiny fraction of her treatment. She would have to pay out of pocket for the mastectomies and hysterectomy she needed, along with chemotherapy and most of her doctor’s visits
Seeking help, Stacy also learned that she didn’t qualify for her state-run health insurance and wasn’t eligible for a federal insurance program that is meant to assist those with pre-existing conditions like cancer. Fast forward to 2013. Stacy, who is still receiving treatment, testified at a hearing by the U.S. Senate committee that oversees the health care laws.
After telling her cancer story, Stacy told Senators that although she received treatment that saved her life, it came at a cost. She is so in debt from her medical bills she may need to file for bankruptcy this year. But, Stacy said, thanks the Affordable Care Act she can live her life with the comfort of knowing that she will have access health care in the future.
“I now have peace of mind knowing that, in 2014, I will no longer be denied coverage because of my pre-existing condition — cancer. Having access to affordable insurance coverage and quality medical care will give me a better peace of mind for the future,” she told the committee. “My future is much brighter today than before the enactment of the Affordable Care Act, and for that I am very grateful.”
To read more about Stacy’s experience, visit Carroll cancer survivor testifies before U.S. Senate