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Gaining Hope in Arizona

By Aurora Garcia

I just spent a week kicking off our statewide Arizona campaign to give college students and other young adults the facts on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and info on their new options, and I was blown away by the response.

The best part of this week was getting to hear some of the stories of young adults who are struggling with health care related issues and debt. I listened to a young man, 34 years, who has been battling cancer for many years and who has been denied coverage many times, and heard about his struggle to pay out of pocket, and his inability to afford tuition. Under the ACA, he will no longer be denied coverage, and as someone who is unemployed his coverage will be super affordable (possibly at no cost!). When we informed him about his new options, his answer was “You just made my day!” That made my day 🙂

As part of Young Invincibles and Arizona PIRG’s Health Insurance 101 Campus Blitz Week, we visited community colleges in Avondale, Chandler, Scottsdale, Phoenix, Tucson, Glendale, and Mesa and answered all types of questions that students have about the ACA, like:

1. What is the difference between Obamacare and the ACA?
It’s the same thing.

2. I’m 21; won’t I be kicked out of my parent’s insurance soon?
Nope, not anymore.

3. I hear about affordable options, what are they in Arizona?
Tax credits and Medicaid.

On campus, we went way in depth with these types of questions. We saw first hand that young adults are interested in getting covered, but only once they get the basic info about their options. We showed them their new choices with the Arizona version of our road map to coverage.

Getting all of this information out there was not the easiest thing to do. There are a lot of misconceptions. A father of two came to me to get info about the ACA for his 23 and 25 year olds. He was thrilled to hear that his children are 1) able to purchase their own insurance and 2) do it affordably. He told me that he did not believe in Obamacare, but the ACA seemed legit, and that he would make sure his children looked into it and got covered.

Hearing stories like those of the young man with cancer and the misconceptions around that ACA are what motivate me to continue working on this. Because let’s face it—we are not really invincible. That’s why it’s important that we get the word out and get covered.

Special thanks to the participating campuses: Estrella Community College, Chandler-Gilbert Community College, Scottsdale Community College, Paradise Valley Community College, Pima Community College(where we were interviewed by the Arizona Daily Star!), Glendale Community College, and Mesa Community College.

For more information on how to get involved in Arizona, please e-mail me at