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Young, hardworking, in love—and now, covered

I graduated from college in the spring of 2009, at the height of the Great Recession. I spent the next few years working several part-time jobs because it was hard to find full-time positions. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, I didn't have to worry about health insurance for a while, because I was able to stay on my parents' insurance until I was 26 years old.

In the fall of 2012, I had steady employment but no benefits, and was close to aging off of my parents' insurance. I applied for a private plan, but I was denied coverage because of a chronic condition I've had since I was a child.

I was shocked. I talked to multiple insurance companies, insurance brokers, and doctors, but the answer was always the same: with a pre-existing condition like mine, private health care would never be an option for me. On my 26th birthday, I remember calling Blue Cross Blue Shield and getting yet another rejection—and I just burst into tears.

My fiancé and I both work at startups that we love, but I wondered if I should quit my job to find something that came with benefits. We wondered if we would need to take turns sacrificing what sort of work we did to ensure that we'd both have health care.

After being uninsured for two stressful months, I found the Illinois Comprehensive Health Insurance Plan and enrolled as a last resort. This health care plan was way out of my price range, and, ironically, I never ended up using it for my chronic condition.

The Affordable Care Act changed everything. When the marketplace opened last fall, I had choices. I could find a plan that worked for me. My silver plan recognizes that at 27, I don't go to the doctor that often. It's a plan that fits my needs.

And in case you're wondering, it costs $100 less per month than what I was paying before, thanks to the financial help I'm receiving. That's $1,200 more money in my pocket every year. And at 27, that's a lot of money to me. That's one month of rent plus six months of my car insurance. That's my grocery budget for 12 weeks. That's money that can go towards buying my own place or starting a family.

I'm getting married soon and my fiancé and I are both covered through the Illinois marketplace, thanks to Obamacare. Check out your options and find a plan that works for you.

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