A Healthy Blog

Massachusetts health care — wonky, with a healthy dose of reality

Meet Mary Flynn from Brewster

Meet Mary Flynn from Brewster

March 27, 2012

I want you all to meet Mary Flynn from Brewster, Massachusetts. Awhile back, she called our HelpLine because she was having problems with COBRA and needed health insurance. As the Supreme Court takes a closer look at Massachusetts’s health reform, folks across the nation want to know: has it worked? Mary is here to tell you: absolutely. Yesterday, she was highlighted in Bloomberg News because she was helped by Massachusett’s health reform law:

Flynn, a public relations executive in Boston, left her job in February 2011 to start her own company. She signed up for COBRA health insurance from her former employer, whom she declined to name, as she was leaving. In August, she got a “very terse letter” from the company telling her it had dropped her coverage in May, after an address error on her June invoice caused her to inadvertently miss a payment.

Inhaler Costs
Flynn has asthma and uses a drug inhaler, Advair (GSK), that costs $210 a month retail through drugstore.com. She paid $60 a month for it through her COBRA plan, before it was canceled. She then turned to the Massachusetts Health Connector, the state’s insurance exchange created in 2006 under Romney.
“I felt like they threw me a lifeline,” she said, adding that her inhaler now costs her just $3.50 a month. “It’s the best insurance I’ve ever had.”

That’s a great story. But what makes Mary’s story even better is what Bloomberg didn’t talk about. After she got health insurance by calling our HelpLine, I got in touch with her to see if she wanted to get involved with our campaigns at HCFA. Turns out, she did – in a big way. Mary called her state representative to ask him to support our efforts to restore oral health benefits for folks on Mass Health. But she didn’t stop there. She hosted a house party in Brewster and got her friends to share their health care stories and get involved with HCFA. And now, she’s even helping out by sharing her story with major media outlets. That’s how she came to be quoted in Bloomberg.

Mary is part of a growing list of activists who care about HCFA and have been getting involved – by hosting house parties, getting their friends involved, and sharing her story with the media. She’s helping us spread the word and build our power at the grassroots level.

If you want to get involved with HCFA, contact me at Afertig@hcfama.org – we are always looking for more folks willing to share their story. If you’ve been helped by health reform, let us know! Drop a note in the comments or shoot me an e-mail. We want to hear from you!
--Ari Fertig