Since I’ve come out supporting the Affordable Care Act, with reservations, both here and on Facebook, and have publicly stated that my family would be applying for coverage, I thought I should let you know that as of February 1st I have joined the ranks of the insured at last!
You will see and probably have already see “Obamacare” horror and success stories in the media. I am going to share my family’s story, and I hope you know you can trust me to be honest. There will be no slant here, just anecdotal evidence of how this has worked out for one family.
I was excited to sign up for health care as soon as the website opened. And that website was just as much of a mess as you may have heard. The dysfunction could hardly be exaggerated. I finally managed to get registered but even after days of trying could not log back in. I figured I had plenty of time to sign up so I decided to come back and try again after the glitches were fixed.
Well, you can imagine what happened, given that the deadline for January 1st coverage was December 23, right in the middle of Christmas preparations. I waited too long, didn’t realize how much there was to the application process, and had to settle for getting covered in February instead.
That said, the log in problem was solved with a phone call. The process still had some glitches, definitely, but I was able to get help for all of them from customer service, and the wait times were short. If you plan to apply, be aware that they are going to need all kinds of detailed financial information about everyone in your family who makes money. One of the problems I had with the application was that it seemed to be impossible to leave it and come back where you left off. The info was saved, but you had to click through all the screens again, not exactly a tragedy but a pain.
Once through the screening process, our results were mixed. John, me, Emily, and Jake are all covered together. William and Lorelei are supposed to be able to stay on TennCare. Teddy was deemed ineligible. I’m afraid he might be falling in that Medicaid hole caused by Tennessee’s refusal to fully participate. I called a counselor, who said the results did not make sense to her, and I am appealing that part of it.
But in the meantime, four people in my family, four people who were completely without health coverage, are now insured. About 15 monthly prescriptions are now covered. A person declared “uninsurable” 13 years ago now has insurance. All the pre-existing conditions don’t matter. I can stop being afraid to go to the doctor for fear that they will find something wrong that will disqualify me from being insured down the road.
We did not choose the cheapest plan. With subsidies we could have gotten one for about $85/month. You can decide what level of coverage you want, what doctors you want on the plan, what your premium would be, what your deductible will be. There are many, many plans to choose from.
We picked a plan with a $600 deductible per FAMILY. With a $4,000 out-of-pocket limit for the year. With free yearly check-ups, and pretty much 80% coverage of everything once the deductible is met. Every doctor we care about accepts our plan. We will pay $272/month.
Even with all the glitches, that’s a success story for us. I’m going to be shopping for a primary care physician and I’m going to make appointments for the four of us with every kind of doctor we have ever wanted to see.
If you haven’t applied yet, it’s not too late to see what kind of deal YOU can get. Go to http://www.healthcare.gov and apply before February 15 to be covered by March 1!