When the federal health insurance marketplace officially debuted this time last year, Marta Hardy, 60, felt just one emotion: relief.
At the time, Hardy, who lives in Lakeland, Ga., had gone nearly four years without insurance. She had a decent-paying job working full-time at a small manufacturing plant, but the company didn’t offer health plans. Her husband was already retired and could take advantage of Medicare. That left Hardy, who was recently diagnosed with thyroid disease and takes medication for high blood pressure, entering her 60s with no safety net.