Name: The Tripp Family
Ages: Sherri, 49, Barry, 51, and Jasper, 20
Location: Old Orchard Beach
Insurance in 2014: The ACA marketplace
Sherri and Barry Tripp hadn’t had insurance for years.
The couple tried. And paid. To the tune of $1,200 a month — for a plan with a $20,000 annual deductible. But after a while, it just didn’t make much sense.
“We felt like we would rather put that thousand dollars away in a bank account and hopefully nothing happens,” Sherri said.
As both small-business owners (Mocean Surf Shop and the Ocean Tripp Inn in Old Orchard Beach) and seasonal workers (in the winter she’s a restaurant host and he’s a snowboard coach in Carrabassett Valley), they couldn’t just get insurance through work.
The Tripps always made sure their son, Jasper, had coverage. But when it came to their own health, they looked the other way.
Then, last year, they learned about the ACA marketplace. It couldn’t be worse than $1,200 a month and a $20,000 deductible, they figured. It couldn’t be worse than no insurance at all.
With help from Mercy Hospital in Portland, the couple filled, filed, submitted and hoped.
“We had some challenges signing up originally, but I stuck with it,” Sherri said.
They chose a middle-of-the-road plan, figuring “we didn’t need all the bells and whistles.” They just needed to be able to see a doctor once in a while and know they were covered if something bad happened.
“It’s a godsend for us. It’s the best thing that ever happened,” Sherri said. “For the first time in I can’t tell you when, I had a mammogram, I had a pap smear. I’m almost 50 years old and I went without all that for nearly seven years.”
For less than $500 a month, including a subsidy, the family got a full insurance plan with a $1,000 deductible. It wasn’t perfect — Jasper had to change doctors because his wasn’t part of their new insurance company’s network — but the family was happy.
So happy that the Tripps renewed their plan for 2015.
“The best part of this ACA thing is the [free] preventive care. My son was able to have a physical. My husband had a colonoscopy. We had things done we never, ever would have been able to do before,” Sherri said.
She’s started talking up the insurance marketplace at her winter job.
“A lot of the waitresses and wait staff, they don’t have it. I think everybody’s nervous about it because before it was just untouchable for most people,” Sherri said. “Anybody that calls me [I tell them] I think it’s wonderful.”