A sleeping giant awakens
If you’ve read my blog for any length of time, it’s probably pretty clear to you that I am not a fan of Obamacare.
I want affordable health insurance, and affordable, accessible, stable and uniform health care for everyone. But for many reasons, I have never thought Obamacare would get us there.
Over the last year I have posted about sticker shock, subsidies, narrow networks, high deductibles and cancelled policies.
I expected the worst, and for the most part I have not been disappointed.
Although, with all honesty, I did not foresee … Continue reading
…because health care is still sick
So the political brouhaha is over in Washington, DC (for now) and Obamacare can continue it’s rollout unchecked–except by the federal exchange’s own technical ineptitude.
But eventually the online marketplaces will be functioning as they are supposed to, and all Americans–regardless of their economic or health situations–will be able to buy affordable health insurance and have access to the best care possible.
Or will they?
Our health care system has long been described as broken, sick, on life support. Obamacare has taken the system back into surgery to try and repair some of … Continue reading
A leaner, meaner network
Last week the health insurance exchanges, or marketplaces, opened for business. Many potential insurance buyers were met with non-working or glitchy systems on that first day, but slowly these technical issues are being resolved.
I tried my state’s wahealthplanfinder.org the first day, and I, too, ran into performance issues. The following day, however, I had no problem accessing the site. I could make a few suggestions as to how to improve the look and function of the website, but I was much more interested in content–what plans are available and how much do they cost?
Because … Continue reading
An intriguing question
The other day I was complaining (again) about the steep hike in my insurance premiums when someone asked me, “Why don’t more people sign up for the health-sharing co-ops?”
“What do you mean,” I asked. “The new Obamacare CO-OPs?”
These non-profit health insurance companies received start-up grants and loans to provide more competition with not-for-profit and for-profit health insurance companies on the exchanges. They are available on about half of the exchanges. Their rates will still be comparable to other companies, though, because of the mandated benefit coverage (more benefits = higher premiums).
“No,” he said. “The … Continue reading
The anticipated and dreaded letter . . .
. . . from my health insurance company finally arrived yesterday.
We are writing to let you know about some important changes to your individual health insurance coverage. . . . Your health insurance plan will no longer be available after December 31, 2013.
We very much want to continue serving you and so have selected a new ACA-compliant Regence plan for you. Your new plan has more benefits and a different price.
Wow. You bet it does. Looking at the enclosed rate sheet, I found my family’s new monthly … Continue reading
It’s all about the subsidies
Key to Obamacare are the subsidies or tax credits that low- and middle-income individuals and families will receive to help them pay for health insurance.
How these subsidies will work is pretty complicated, but what could you expect when two bureaucratic behemoths–health insurance and the IRS–are responsible for them?
It’s taken me ages to reach some level of understanding about the subsidies, but follow along with me and I’ll share what I know as clearly as possible.
Who is eligible?
The eligibility guidelines are straightforward:
- You do not receive or are eligible for (affordable) health
… Continue reading
Health insurance exchanges: Ready, set . . .
The health insurance exchanges, whether state or federally run, are set to open for business on October 1, or close to it.
For those who have never bought health insurance, or those who used to have insurance provided by an employer but will now be shopping on the exchanges, some of the basic concepts and definitions might be confusing.
It’s important to understand all the terms, however, so you can buy the best plan for your health needs and budget.
The biggest reform brought about by the Affordable Care Act is … Continue reading
Getting to know you
I started this blog a little less than a year ago. I was so frustrated by the decline in our health care system and the rise in costs. After listening to me vent my grievances on oh-so-many occasions, my friends and family finally suggested, “Why don’t you blog about it?” So I did.
And it’s been fun! But our health care system is still in decline and the costs are still climbing. And I’m still frustrated.
My real purpose behind the blog, I think, other than letting off some steam, was to start a conversation.
I’ve … Continue reading
Drugs costs might be higher for some
I was reading in the New York Times today about yet another delay of an Obamacare mandate.
This latest delay is regarding the new out-of-pocket(OOP) limits that insurers can charge consumers. In 2014, all plans are supposed to cap OOP costs, including the deductible, at $6,350 for an individual and $12,700 for a family.
Certain group health plans that carry separate policies for prescription drugs have been granted a one-year delay on these OOP caps (have they really not had enough time to make this work?). Such plans will have two separate… Continue reading
Obamacare kicks catastrophic plans to the curb
I read on Kaiser Health News this morning that when
ehealthinsurance.com began notifying people in non-grandfathered [catastrophic] plans that they would have to change policies next January, they got so many calls that they shut down the planned week-long email campaign after one day.
“The people that received the email were not happy at all,” says Carrie McLean, the website’s director of customer care.
Yes! I thought. That is my situation and I’m not happy, either.
Traditionally, insurance companies have offered catastrophic plans to individuals that are relatively healthy and use little health … Continue reading