Will Leatham went 13 years without health insurance because the premiums were too high.
That all changed Monday.
It was only Oct. 1, but it might as well have been Christmas morning for Leatham.
"I did get on it first this morning about 7 a.m. when I rolled out of bed," he said.
Leatham logged onto the Health Insurance Marketplace with the goal of getting healthcare coverage for the first time in over a decade.
The owner of Prospero's Bookstore tried to get health insurance back in 2010 and didn't like what he saw.
"The cheapest I could find cost me about three quarters of what I make in a month, and that was because I'm a high-risk, pre-conditioned person," Leatham said.
Leatham's pre-condition is high blood pressure, and the premium for coverage was $700 a month. He said he couldn't afford that, an issue Leatham said has been the topic of conversation in his social circle.
"When a big chunk of the people you serve and work with and know, who become your family and friends and community, won't get a basic issue, you get a little motivated and excited about it when you might have a chance," he said.
Leatham answered some questions on the site and was able to get estimates on what he would pay, depending on what plan he chooses.
The options, he said, are affordable.
"The top bids are coming in about a half of what I was finding in the private marketplace, and I'm probably, because of my economic strata, going to be eligible for support on top of that," Leatham said.
He hasn't decided what plan he is going to choose but hopes to make a choice later in the week.
"I can't just be dangling out in the wind anymore, especially as I age, even as I take care of myself, you need to have that security to access healthcare," Leatham said.
Leatham said that he was able to work with some doctors to get discounts on his treatment and medication, but there were times when he ended up in the emergency room - a cost of at least $3,000.
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