By Jesus Garcia, Special Assistant, Office of Public Affairs
Growing up, Katie Boody knew that public service was an honorable professional because helping others was in her family’s DNA. Both of her parents were social workers in Kansas City, Mo., employed in the health care and housing sectors. Their work kept healthy families together.
Teaching became a passion for Katie when she realized public education was also a vehicle for societal change. After earning degrees in English and dance on an education scholarship, Katie joined Teach for America to help break the cycle of poverty in tough neighborhoods.
She didn’t have to travel far. Katie, along with other bright young minds, launched the very first Teach for America chapter corps targeting high-need classrooms in Kansas City.
“I love the opportunities that a solid education can provide. I also enjoy opening doors for kids,” said Katie. “Some of my ‘greatest’ moments as a teacher were not so much teaching, but were when my kids were able to accomplish a goal beyond the classroom.”
Katie prides herself in helping students push their limits and taking chances. One day, Katie took her own advice and got creative. She began a small nonprofit to improve education and support teachers. She also decided to change schools for a new teaching post.
Although this welcomed change in her life brought new challenges, it also came at an inopportune time. Katie experienced a medical condition flare up that required her to take some time off of work.
During this downtime, which was recommended by her doctor, she reflected about her life and decided that her passion was with the nonprofit. So she decided to take a leap of faith and follow her dream.
“My business is an early stage non-profit called The Lean Lab. We envision a world where all kids have access to an excellent education. We will achieve this goal by bringing together grassroots leaders, educators and innovators to brainstorm creative solutions to our problems in education,” said Katy, who kept a part-time position at her old teaching gig to help pay bills but no longer qualified for health insurance.
Katie has big dreams for innovating education, “We also are planning on launching a pilot program that will help support and develop educators, innovators and grassroots leaders with innovative early stage ideas so that they can launch high impact solutions that effect kids in our region.”
It is a true labor of love for Katie, who splits her time with the nonprofit, where she averages a 30-plus hour week, and at the high school, where she clocks in another 15 to 20 hours.
Katie also managed to find time to enroll in graduate school, aiming to finish up an education leadership degree.
Working six to seven days can take a toll on the body and lack of health insurance kept Katie wondering how she would handle the next health crisis. Then came the Affordable Care Act.
“I was actually surprised by how easy it was. It took about an hour. I did call in to ask a few clarifying questions about comparing different plans, but I found my questions to be answered quickly,” said Katie, who now has peace of mind that her health care could be affordable and she can continue pursuing her nonprofit career with more focus.
The Health Insurance Marketplace has a good platform to find quality affordable coverage for those unexpected illnesses and injuries—and for important preventive measures like regular check-ups, immunizations and other screenings.
And what about Katie’s new medical plan? It was even better than her last one.
“I actually got a very similar healthcare plan that I had with my last employer at a fraction of what I was paying. I was also able to keep my same doctors, which was really important to me,” said Katie. “I think the best thing about the program is its transparency. Before I felt tied to my employer's healthcare plan mostly because exploring other options seemed so cumbersome and time consuming. I loved the option of being able to immediately compare health care provider options. The tax credit is a life saver as well!”
Open enrollment for health care ends on Monday, March 31. Learn about your coverage today. Six out of 10 uninsured Americans can sign up for $100 a month—or even less.
You can sign up 24 hours a day, 7-days a week at HealthCare.gov or 1-800-318-2596. You can even get in-person help in your own community (just visit localhelp.healthcare.gov and punch in your zip code).
Remember. If you don’t enroll by March 31, you can’t enroll again until November 2014.