Joellen’s Story

Little did Joellen Reichenbach know that a simple conversation at an outdoor event would result in saving her $10,000 a year in health insurance costs.

“I went to a concert about an hour away from where I live,” says Joellen. “This was the first public event I attended since COVID-19.”

That is where she met Claire Kolberg, a health advocate for Pisgah Legal’s Health Justice program. She had set up a display about the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and how Pisgah Legal’s Navigators can help consumers find the best healthcare option while taking advantage of available tax credits to lower costs.

“I really didn’t think that I needed any help. I told her that I had signed up for the ACA in January of 2021 and that I thought I had filled everything out correctly. She asked if I would mind if she could be my second pair of eyes. I said yes, but I didn’t think anything would come of it.”

“I got a call Monday morning and we set up an appointment to go over my ACA application. She and her colleague, Emily [Ermer] looked it over and realized that the application never asked for my taxable income, which is the dollar amount your healthcare rate is based on. My rate was based on God knows what.”

“What average person would know that [about taxable income]?” says Joellen. “I knew I was paying a lot for healthcare- more than my mortgage, but I didn’t think anything could be done about it. If it weren’t for Claire asking to be a second set of eyes, I would have never known.”

With Claire’s help Joellen was able to keep her original plan and pay significantly less. “Before I talked to Claire, healthcare was my biggest expense. But after I spoke with her, I was paying close to $10,000 a year less.” 

“I didn’t think I needed any help. I own my own business and I consider myself to be middle-income, so I didn’t think I would qualify for assistance from a nonprofit. I’m here to tell everyone, even if you don’t think you need any help, don’t hesitate to take it when it’s available.  I’m so glad I stopped by that table and accepted help when it was offered.”

“I plan on returning November 1st to get signed up [for the ACA] again. You can count on it.”


Talk to a ACA Navigator to find out the best healthcare option for your budget.

Call 828-210-3404 or make an appointment at