New law could be ‘big help’

But he’s still not sure if he can afford to retire.

Like countless Americans, he’s waiting to learn more about the Affordable Care Act, and about what it will truly mean to his family in dollars and cents.

The 60-year-old Brookville man has worked as a respiratory therapist for more than 25 years. His job requires him to stand for 12-hour shifts, a near impossibility for someone with his painful leg and tenuous health. But it’s also inconceivable to pay an estimated $1,200 in COBRA premiums or to lose his coverage for his three children, including a 17-year-old daughter still at home. “My desire to retire is balanced with the desire to keep all three kids on my insurance,” he said.

The Affordable Care Act could help tremendously if it enabled his older sons, aged 21 and 19, to procure their own insurance, and if he could land an inexpensive premium. He has already registered with the federal website, so he will be ready to bid for coverage on Oct. 1.

He is currently on short-term disability through Dec. 27, when he will be forced to return to work or decide to retire. That decision will be made easier if he can find a low insurance payment with a low deductible.

“Obamacare could be a big help to someone like me, but it has been so slow in coming,” Stone said. “I don’t know how it will work, or how much my insurance will cost.”

Stone is frustrated because he hasn’t been able to obtain help yet from the navigators that will help consumers to choose the best plan for them. He plans to seek help from the Helping Hands Community Outreach Center in Dayton, the only local agency approved as navigators. “They should have started training the navigators a long time ago, and they should have more of them,” Stone said.

Still, he’s optimistic he’ll eventually find the answers he needs. “I might have to go back to work, but I don’t see how I can do it,” he said. “I hope it all pans out.”