FEDERAL WAY, Wash. -- She was supposed to be one of President Obama's success stories of how the Affordable Care Act can help people finally get healthcare. But now a Federal Way woman says she won't be getting health insurance after all.
Jessica Sanford remembers the president’s speech and was honored to be mentioned.
"It was amazing that it happened,” she said.
The self-employed single mother who makes $49,000 a year, has a son with ADHD and hasn't had insurance for 15 years.
She enrolled in the Washington Healthplanfinder, and was originally quoted a plan for $169 a month.
"I was ecstatic,” she said.
During that October 21 speech, President Obama read a letter she wrote to the White House.
"’I was crying the other day when I signed up, so much stress lifted,’” he quoted her as saying.
But in the days following that speech, Sanford started receiving letters from the Washington Healthplanfinder that there was a "system error" because of an "incorrect tax credit calculation." Now she was to receive "a federal tax credit of 0.00."
That meant her premium would jump to $390 a month.
"I'm very disappointed,” Sanford said. “There is no way I can spend $390 on healthcare.”
Sanford is not alone. She's one of 8,000 people in Washington state whose tax credits were miscalculated by the exchange.
In a statement to KING 5, the CEO apologized and said, "[Sanford], along with all customers who were impacted by this error, recently received an updated eligibility determination based on income and household size. These determinations are now accurate."
Now the woman who was once the president’s success story feels like an Affordable Care Act failure.
"Oh god, I can't even tell you,” she said. “I wanted health insurance, wanted this to work. I want it to work for everybody.”
She has decided not to enroll for insurance and pay the tax penalty instead.
The fee for not enrolling in healthcare for 2014 is one percent of a person's income, or $95, whichever is higher.
Sanford says she is still hoping that health reform will succeed and that the system finds a way to make insurance more affordable for families like hers.