For Stephen McCalman, a teaching assistant and graduate student pursuing his Master of Education, the opportunity to get coverage on his state’s exchange under the Affordable Care Act was an essential part of continuing to assist his students and keep his parents safe during the pandemic.

Stephen McCalman

Stephen McCalman is a graduate student originally from Orange County, CA. He is currently pursuing a Master of Education degree, in addition to assistant teaching at a local public school, and he intends to become a psychology teacher after graduating.

Stephen is grateful that he was eligible for cost-effective coverage thanks to the Affordable Care Act, having purchased a plan through Covered California, the state exchange. He believes the open market is important because it allowed him to choose the plan that worked best for his needs. Stephen was happy to find an affordable plan with extensive benefits that works for him, saying: “Even before the pandemic, having great coverage provided me with peace of mind knowing that I could receive high-quality affordable care that’s there when I need it. I’m able to make sure that I’m healthy, so I can continue to assist my students and work on my degree.”

During the COVID-19 crisis, Stephen has fortunately been able to remain healthy, which is especially important to him because he lives with his parents. Stephen was nervous about infecting them and appreciated that his plan covered COVID-19 tests, noting: “While my work and classes continue to be remote, I’ve been able to stay safe and healthy for my parents. My health insurance provider allowed me to get free COVID-19 testing throughout the year, which provided my family a great amount of relief.”

While Stephen looks forward to the day when he will be able to receive coverage provided by his employer, the ability to purchase a quality plan on his own has been a huge source of comfort.

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