One Year of Obamacare: A Review

We were a little late getting signed up for Obamacare when it launched, so this month marks our one year anniversary–one full year of being insured!
I know that “anecdotes don’t equal data.”  I also know that UNBIASED data I’ve read on the success of Obamacare has been largely positive.  But right or wrong, anecdotes are what people listen to and remember.  That’s why I’ve been sharing my family’s experiences–both negative and positive–with my readers.
Obamacare has been a success for my family.  Here are the 2014 stats:
Premiums paid:  $3,796.75
Physician Charges:  $41,191.17
Prescriptions:  $9,581.96
Our portion after insurance:  $5,454.47
Total health care costs: $9,251.22
That’s a lot of money, but it’s $41,521.91 less than we would have paid if we DIDN’T have insurance.  Actually, what would have happened is we would have gone without care.  We wouldn’t have had the tools to improve our health the way we have this year (more on this in my next update post).  Jake would have been left with a non-functioning finger after his accident.  We would have tried to do without medications that were less essential.
If you’ve always had insurance you may not realize another huge plus:  ACCESS.  If you don’t have insurance, you are expected to pay for services up front, except in the emergency room (which is why the uninsured–and I’ve been there–head for the emergency room for primary care).  With my magic BCBST card, I can go to the doctor and pay later.  We still owe money for Jake’s surgery.  But he GOT THE SURGERY.  The only thing we had to pay in advance was about $150 to the surgery center.  Furthermore, you will pay MORE for those services because without insurance you lose the special negotiated rate, which basically halves the out-of-pocket costs.
I’ve been honest in my reporting so you already know that our experience has not been completely positive.  To recap, part of the family was not originally covered.  Although that was rectified in August, I still have not gotten a satisfactory response on the appeal I filed, which was your basic bureaucratic comedy of errors.  At this point I am probably letting it go, as the benefits really don’t outweigh the PITA factor.  The website itself is just terrible and while it may not crash as often as it did in the beginning, there are still plenty of problems with it.  On the bright side, the customer service is excellent.  They will do whatever you need right on the phone, and they are kind, pleasant, knowledgeable, understanding, and efficient.  As someone who has spent literally hours at a time on the phone with TennCare representatives, I appreciate that.
Finally, as seems to be true for many people, our premium went up at the beginning of the year.  WAY up.  It’s $200 more this year, and while it is way less than what we would pay (and couldn’t!) without the subsidy, it is still a stretch.  Many blame the rise in premiums on the ACA; I blame it on the greed of the insurance companies and think the solution is a single-payer plan, which I hope we finally get some day.
You have until February 15, 2015 to apply for your own plan!  It can’t hurt to take a look.  Maybe you will get lucky–and healthy–like we did.

And here’s the rest of our ObamaCare story:
The $64,000 Question, Answered
Who Are the Uninsured?
Uninsured No More
ObamaCare Update
ObamaCare Update 2
ObamaCare:  My Latest Update
ObamaCare Revisited
More on Our Journey to Health, Brought to You by Obamacare
It’s Good to Be Insured: An ObamaCare Update

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  1. I’m so happy to read this, Leslie. Though we still have private insurance, thanks to my husband’s employment, I have always been a big fan of the ACA and agree that a truly universal healthcare would be ideal (if implemented properly, of course). You’re absolutely right that stories like yours are the ones that really count and need to be heard. Thanks for sharing!

    • lesliesholly says:

      Thanks for commenting, Joy. I’ve chosen to share this very personal information because I know so many people who don’t understand this issue will give it a second look if they hear about it from someone they know and trust.

  2. gailcav says:

    So, you have done well with Obamacare. It is a great testimony to those who oppose it. It is great that the Supreme Court upheld the subsidies that poor and middle class families have to help them pay for the premiums.

  1. February 15, 2015

    […] I continued my series on my family’s experience with […]

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