Letter: One man’s personal experience with Obamacare
Six years ago I was a healthy adult, taking pretty good care of myself and enjoying athletic pursuits. Then I had a heart attack, followed by a chronic neurologic problem. As I already had a pre-existing condition—as defined by the insurance company due to a back injury long ago—I was pretty much stuck with whatever my present insurance company wanted to charge me, since changing policies was not an easy option in that circumstance.
Over time, my insurance policy increased in cost until I was paying over $1,300 per month, along with deductibles and co-pays on medical care and pharmaceuticals. Altogether, it was possible for my health insurance costs to be as high as $34,000 per year due to these charges. In my situation, it is easy to hit the maximum out-of-pocket expense for my insurance policy. Given that, I was definitely looking forward to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
I was able to get online and compare policies after some effort. While the difficulties dealing with the site were frustrating, it was worthwhile. I can get an insurance policy with lower deductibles, lower co-pays and co-insurance charges for $690 per month. The total possible charges drop from $34,000/year to $18,500 per year. There were other lower-cost options with higher deductibles, etc., but this seemed to be the best option for me. So for the four or five hours it took to deal with the website issues, I will definitely save $7,200 per year and probably save $10,000 to $13,000. The best part? This is a policy from my current insurer with the same list of providers and the same list of covered medications.
It is likely that some people will pay more for coverage under the ACA. In exchange for that, far fewer people will face bankruptcy due to high medical costs. If you do the math, you can see that the ACA could have saved me as much as $78,000 for the six years I have been ill. I am extremely fortunate not to have lost everything due to that sort of cost.
That is one of the things young people paying a little more get—protection from medical bankruptcy. I don’t smoke, I was athletic, at a good weight and taking good care of myself. I had no reason to suspect I would have the medical problems I have. Protection from the unexpected is the point of insurance, isn’t it? No one knows whether they will have a serious medical issue tomorrow.
Don’t be deceived by all the conflicting claims about the ACA. Check out the health care exchange to see how much you might benefit, especially if you are paying for your insurance yourself.