By now you’ve probably seen the video of a young woman nearly passing out during President Barack Obama’s health care speech in the Rose Garden Monday.
And although she recovered quickly from her dizzy spell, and many have moved on from her story, here’s a tiny but important detail you may not have heard about her: She is still not sure if she will enroll in Obamacare.
Her name is Karmel Allison. She’s from California. She’s pregnant. And she has Type I diabetes.
Although she’s not sure whether she’ll switch over from her current plan, she says she likes having the option to do so.
Here’s how the White House described Allison ahead of the speech:
Karmel Allison was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes when she was nine years old. She has stayed on the same insurance ever since, despite constantly rising costs, for fear she would not be able to find a plan that would cover her due to her pre-existing condition. Allison recently began researching her options on CoveredCA and has publically [sic] described her experience as finally feeling equal to others, including her young and healthy husband, when it comes to access to coverage.
Her Type I diabetes, which she was diagnosed with before she enrolled in her current plan, is considered by many insurers to be a “pre-existing condition.” And because her condition is considered “pre-existing,” she has spent the past few decades hesitant to switch plans for fear of losing coverage.
She even said she felt “married” to her current plan.
However, that may change because Obamacare makes it illegal to deny coverage based on “pre-existing” conditions.
“I had never actively looked for other coverage, because what I had was working, and the message I was getting from all the other insurance companies was, ‘Why would we cover a Type 1 diabetic? There’s no obligation for us to do that. And we’re not going to do that for anything remotely close to affordable,’” Allison told Business Insider.
She is currently reviewing her options on CoveredCA.com, California’s exchange website.
“When I went on the website, I wasn’t even necessarily looking to purchase coverage, which is why it was kind of a shocking experience that I was touched by it,” she said. “My husband and I are reviewing our options, now that we have other options.”
She wrote a blog post on October 7 describing her experience as a diabetic navigating the new Obamacare online exchanges. Her post was quickly picked up by several outlets and eventually made its way to the White House. That’s how she got an invite to Monday’s Rose Garden event.
“I’m just very grateful to the President for all the work he’s done to get this law enacted, and I’m very grateful to the ADA for all they did to allow me to be here, and for all they do on a regular basis,” Allison said.
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This post has been updated.