I’m Covered Stories: A Persistent Dad Wins the Day

By Judy Sarasohn, Public Affairs, Department of Health and Human Services

Phillip Wise, a retired Air Force medical technician I spoke to recently, has a favorite saying: Persistence beats resistance. “Otherwise, you’re just giving up,” he told me. That core belief helped him recover from the horrific Operation Babylift crash during the evacuation of orphaned Vietnamese babies from Saigon in 1975 — and it stood him good stead through the years.

And it has most certainly helped him as a father, especially when it came to helping LaNika, his occasionally stubborn daughter. This is the Father’s Day story of a dad whose nagging convinced his daughter to finally take control of her health, and why he felt it was so important that she get covered.

LaNika, 34, from Flint, Michigan, has a diverse resume, but never found a job that provided a steady-enough income to afford health insurance on the private market. When she suffered a concussion from a volleyball accident, the years of Phil’s “asking” her to get insurance finally broke through. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, LaNika was able to get affordable, quality health coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace. You can read about her story here.

“I told LaNika, ‘You’ve been lucky. You’re young, but things happen,’” Phil recalled.

“My wife and I were always on pins and needles regarding her health security. When open enrollment in the Marketplace began in October, I said, ‘This is your opportunity.’”

“I kept harping on it in November …in December. It was such a relief for my wife and me when LaNika finally enrolled.”

LaNika is now getting the checkups and preventive services she missed when she didn’t have coverage. But if she wasn’t, there’s no doubt her dad would remind her!  “Preventive care has always been the name of the game,” he says, and LaNika notes that her dad is “pretty big” about eating right and going for his annual checkup.

Recalling his good fortune to survive the airlift crash, Phil told me, “LaNika is my miracle child. I’m blessed to have her.”

LaNika, who calls him her hero, said: “I thank him for loving me — and even for the nagging!”

For other fathers and daughters, and mothers and sons, the next open enrollment period starts in November. But you may have special circumstances that allow you to enroll now. Check it out now for your own security and peace of mind.

Happy Father’s Day to Phil and all the fathers out there who want the best for us.

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