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"Getting the help I so desperately needed"
In 2014, Caleb Chamberlain was like many twenty-somethings of his generation: a college graduate, working two jobs, living at home, and still trying to figure out what he wanted to do with his life.
Being young, healthy, and with nothing but time stretching out before him, the last thing Caleb thought he needed was health insurance. “When you’re young you basically think you’re invincible,” says Caleb.
That is, until he contracted pneumonia in two different places in his lungs.
“I was so sick I couldn't even get up to go to the bathroom, because my lungs simply couldn't handle it,” recalls Caleb, who regularly enjoys playing football, basketball and rollerblading. “Keep in mind that I was an extremely athletic 26-year-old who loved to run and sprint and normally had very healthy lungs. None of that mattered, though.”
Fortunately, because of the passage of the Affordable Care Act, Caleb was able to take advantage of the Medicaid expansion in Washington State and qualify for coverage through Apple Health (Medicaid). “I signed up for health care through Washington Healthplanfinder,” says Caleb. “I was eligible for completely free coverage . . . because I only found part-time work while I searched for a career.”
While Caleb did eventually recover, it was still a lengthy process: He made several trips to the doctor for two courses of antibiotics, he was bedridden for a month, and he was unable to work during that time.
“Ultimately, I'd love to find a full time job that includes health benefits,” says Caleb. “It's not as if I enjoy being partially employed, but at this point it's all I have while I continue to search for a career. I'm not lazy, or trying to take advantage of the system by getting free health care, unlike many may believe.”
Reflecting on his ordeal, Caleb is grateful that Apple Health was there when he needed it: “I can say with complete honesty that I may not be here today if it weren't for [the Affordable Care Act]. It allowed me to quickly get the help I desperately needed without having to worry about the financial toll it would take on me.”