Less than five months later, the Grand Haven man crashed his motorcycle and landed in the hospital. He was not wearing a helmet.
VanderWal said he thinks mandated health care under the new Affordable Care Act will help people face the unexpected.
“It really opened my eyes,” he said. “I was so thankful I had insurance. I was thinking — if I didn't have insurance, would they have helped me or would I have been just sitting there? I know it was an accident, but still, there are limits to what they can do even if people have insurance.”
VanderWal, 29, who is studying cosmetology at the French Academy in Spring Lake, said he hopes the Affordable Care Act will also open up more opportunities for coverage.
He said he currently has to pay for MRIs out of his own pocket after the Sept. 14 crash.
“I just hope they actually do more to help us and not keep limiting everything we can do,” he said. “I think they should look at letting people do physical therapy with Medicaid. I can only go for a consultation and then I have to pay out-of-pocket. They send you home with stuff to do.”
Jessica Bukrey plans to dive head-first into the health insurance marketplace when it opens next week. However, the 40-year-old Baker College student said she's thoroughly confused by all the health care law changes, but has scheduled a meeting with an insurance agent to help her wade through her options.
The new law will not allow insurance companies to deny coverage because of existing health issues. Bukrey said she's been denied coverage in the past because of pre-existing conditions. She hasn't had health insurance since the 1990s.
“I can't imagine there are too many people who are 40 who don't have some sort of pre-existing condition,” she said.