Roanoke, Va. -

It's been five months since the mandatory health insurance portion of the Affordable Care Act took effect for individuals.

This week we continue our look at the ACA to find out how it's affecting you, the people who live in Southwest Virginia.

Dawn Blankenship is a Roanoke woman who recently found herself out of work and out of health insurance.  "I've been unemployed since November," Blankenship said as she sat on her couch at her son's apartment in Roanoke.

Blankenship moved in with her son and she's collecting unemployment.
While that money is helping her make ends meet she said it also means she doesn't qualify for any federal subsidies for health insurance.

"Because unemployment is above the poverty rate you don't qualify for any help," Blankenship explained.

She said the plan she found on the healthcare.gov web site cost too much.  "When I went in and did my quote  even with a high deductible it was close to $300.00 a month," Blankenship said. "Where am I supposed to come up with that?"

"I'm helping some with the rent, the electric.  I buy all the food when you get done with that there's nothing left," Blankenship said. "You've got car insurance, car payments."

This self described healthy eater who hasn't had fast food in months is now taking a chance going without health insurance. 

Instead she continues looking for full time work and said she'll pay the penalty, which she figures will be about $295.00.

Her thoughts on the Affordable Care Act:  "I think the idea is a good thing," Blankenship said. "But I think it's a terrible program."

Patrick Kelly with Enroll Virginia said that people on unemployment in many cases must buy health insurance or face a penalty, however, he said most qualify for some type of federal help.

"Actually the people who qualify for unemployment typically will make enough money in order to qualify for a subsidy or help," Kelly said. "It depends on the size and the amount of time they're receiving that unemployment."