Lisa Lewis has spent the last three years hoping and praying she doesn’t get sick. In early 2017 she started her own business as a graphic designer after losing her job with a company where she’d worked for 10 years.
“I always wanted to go out on my own, but I worried about how I was going to pay for health care coverage,” she said.
Even though Lewis was mostly healthy, she does have type 2 diabetes and needed to make sure she could get the supplies and medications she needs 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 of their white counterparts. 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 said 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 said. “It was scary, though. I just tried to do the best I could.”
After seeing a reminder about the beginning of Open Enrollment on the Black Women’s Health Imperative’s Facebook page, Lewis decided to go to the Open Enrollment site to see what it would take for her to get covered. To her surprise there was an option that worked within her budget.
“I really didn’t expect that I could do it,” she said. “I am relieved that I did it.” Open Enrollment lasts only from November 1 to December 15, 2019.
Lewis said she went on the site to see what she needed to provide before she enrolled, and that made a big difference. The site spells out everything. She was even able to enroll on her phone.
Her only regret? That she didn’t do this sooner. “I am really relieved and looking forward to not having to worry about care in 2020,” she said.
Learn your enrollment options to get covered.