AUSTIN, Texas - For quite some time, Alejandro Rios noticed nerve pain in his arm.
Little did he know it was a sign of a condition that could've changed his life forever. He always performed at many shows over the years, but then the pandemic hit, and it actually gave him some downtime and a chance to find out what his disease was.
"It gave me the very needed opportunity to take care of a health condition that had I not had taken care of it soon, I would’ve been paralyzed," said Rios.
Rios' brain was too big for his skull, forcing him to get surgery immediately. "They decompress the skull so the brain can have more room," said Rios.
He said if it weren't for the Health Alliance for Austin Musicians (HAAM) and Foundation Communities enrolling him in health insurance, he would have had a hard time affording surgery.
"The musicians that make this place the live music capital of the world like Alejandro and Brent are basically small businesses. If they had to go out and get health insurance on their own it might prohibitively expensive for their business," said Rep. Lloyd Doggett, (D) Austin.
Doggett, along with city leaders and foundation communities, is encouraging those who need insurance, to sign up during open enrollment.
"Affordable health insurance is a key component of equitable life in our city. No member of this community should have to make the choice between paying for healthcare, childcare, or putting food on the table," said Mayor Steve Adler, Austin.
Foundation Communities said there is a lot more money and more plans available for people this year, highlighting that because of the pandemic even more people are in need of insurance.
Open enrollment runs until Jan. 15.