I-Team investigates, stuck in the middle of Affordable Health Ca - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

I-Team investigates, stuck in the middle of Affordable Health Care

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Sheri Smith works two jobs to pay for her children's healthcare. Sheri Smith works two jobs to pay for her children's healthcare.
Some nights, she doesn't get home until midnight. Some nights, she doesn't get home until midnight.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is about 2,000 pages long. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is about 2,000 pages long.
JACKSON, MO (KFVS) -

Like it or hate it, there is still a lot to learn about the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare.     

It will affect you in some way or another.     

The law kicked in three years ago this month, and more changes are coming next year.

Many argue the middle class is the hardest hit.

A Jackson woman's story may be very familiar to yours or someone you know.

Sheri Smith of Jackson is a working mom.

"My motivation is my family," said Sheri Smith. She's an account manager by day at an insurance office in Jackson.

She's there from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Her wardrobe for her next job hangs in her office. It's a reminder that her day won't end at 5 p.m.

"I usually have five minutes to get to my next job," said Smith.

At 5:05 p.m., Sheri Smith is changed and already waiting tables at Wings Etc., a new restaurant in Jackson.

Some nights, she doesn't get home until midnight.

"I worked almost 82 hours last week, sacrificing a lot of time with my children," said Smith.

The main reason she is doing this: the cost of healthcare

"We feel we're struggling more than when we got married 10 years ago, can't be the only ones out there that's struggling," said Smith.

Sheri has health care from her 8-5 job, and her husband has insurance too. They're both covered 100%.

However, they can't afford to add their kids on their plans.

"Basically it would take one whole paycheck to add them to mine or my husband's plans," said Smith.

She wanted to buy a "child-only policy" for them, but that's almost impossible to find these days.

With the passage of the Affordable Care Act, most insurance companies stopped offering those policies.

So, her kids ages 16 and 14 are un-insured.

"When our kids have to go to the doctor, we pay cash and put money in savings," said Smith. "It's very stressful because I constantly worry that something's going to happen."

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is about 2,000 pages long. Even the pros are still deciphering the details.

Dr. Gloria Green from Southeast Missouri State University spends a lot of time explaining it to her nursing students. Those students are among those to benefit.

"They can stay on their parents health insurance until they're 26," said Green. "Those with pre-existing conditions also benefit."

Before the law, they could be denied insurance.

Those who potentially stand to lose include small business owners who may be forced to provide healthcare benefits for their employees, or pay a penalty.

While there's no mention of eliminating the "child-only policy" in the bill, it is a direct impact which is now felt by people like Sheri Smith.

"It's the middle class, people who are trying to make things work ... we're the ones suffering," said Smith.

"We have a very broken health care system, the access is inconsistent," said Gloria Green.

Many argue it's the cost of healthcare that needs the most attention.

"We're all about one medical catastrophe away from bankruptcy," said Green.

That's what worries Sheri Smith the most.

"What do you do, I don't know what to do next," said Smith.

More changes are coming with the Affordable Care Act, and will continue through 2020.

Copyright 2013 KFVS. All rights reserved.

 

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