HR Administration

Margie Meacham: The Soloist

By Sarah Sipek

Feb. 11, 2015

ACA 5 Year Aniversery

Margie MeachamMargie Meacham
Learning to Go
Rio Verde, Arizona

Margie Meacham owns a small business — the smallest you can have. She is the owner and sole proprietor of Learning to Go, an instructional design consulting firm she operates in Arizona. Unlike other small businesses that have had to jump through hoops to comply with Affordable Care Act regulations, as an individual she did not bear that burden. Instead, the legislation gave her access to better health care coverage.

“Before the legislation I was working for American Express as a global training manager. In 2008 I looked around and realized that it was a tough time in the economy and there were probably layoffs coming. I didn’t feel safe in my current employment, so I figured it was safer being a consultant.

“One of the few challenges I faced as a result of that decision was finding health care. I didn’t qualify for group plans as an individual. Plus, back then if you had anything wrong with you, or if you had ever been treated for anything, you couldn’t get coverage. Once you hit your 50s, it’s pretty hard not to have a couple of things that you need to be treated for.

“I ended up finding coverage through a special small-business program offered exclusively in Arizona, but it was basic coverage. It wasn’t the coverage I was used to as the employee of a great company and the benefits that go with it.

“Then in 2010 the Affordable Care Act came along. I looked at the plans, and quite honestly, I didn’t have a lot of choices. It was either take the doctor closest to me or drive an hour for medical care. I got very lucky. It turned out he was a fabulous doctor.  

“My monthly fee went up, but my coverage got better. The services that I had access to got better, so I felt like it was a good investment.

“Overall I’m happy with the legislation. There are plenty of people who now have access to health care who didn’t before. It gave me peace of mind, which I value, even if it meant paying more.”

Sarah Sipek is a Workforce associate editor.

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