Name: Charlene Brousseau

Age: 62

Location: Manchester

Insurance in 2014: The Affordable Care Act marketplace

Charlene Brousseau faithfully follows the advice of consumer advocates trumpeting the Affordable Care Act. But it hasn’t been easy.

The Manchester woman signed up for coverage through in 2013, seeking a more affordable plan to tide her over until she qualifies for Medicare in a few years. She was ensnared in the “horror show” of the site’s botched rollout, but she eventually managed to sign up for a plan from Maine Community Health Options that slashed her monthly premium costs by more than half. She bought dental insurance with the money she saved. Her medical needs were covered, and she didn’t have to monkey around with co-pays or co-insurance.

But when renewal time rolled around this year, Brousseau learned she couldn’t keep the plan she worked so hard to find. Brousseau, 62, qualifies for a modest Social Security check that bumps her into a new income bracket, throwing off the federal subsidy that helped her purchase insurance.

“That changed everything,” she said. “I’ll be paying about $100 more a month, it more than doubled for me.”

Brousseau still qualifies for a subsidy, albeit smaller, for her new Maine Community Health Options plan. She’s expecting more co-pays to see her doctor. She also faced the hassle of filling out another enrollment application, even though should have saved her information from last year.

But Brousseau says she’s still better off. Before the ACA, she was shelling out $1,100 per month for an “outrageous” plan from Anthem that carried a $2,200 deductible. She views the premium for her new plan as a “realistic amount to pay.” Her coverage kicked in on Jan. 1.

Still, Brousseau’s looking ahead — almost longingly — to her 65th birthday, when she’ll qualify for Medicare.

“It’s terrible to want to get older to not have to bother with this,” she said.

Jackie Farwell

I'm the health editor for the Bangor Daily News, a Bangor native, a UMaine grad, and a weekend crossword warrior. I never get sick of writing about Maine people, geeking out over health care data, and...