Well, it’s that time of year: Open Enrollment is upon us. It’s a time I both dread and welcome. I dread the clunky website and the endless data entry and the long but usually helpful calls to customer service, but I welcome the opportunity to once again share with you my gratitude for the blessing that Obamacare has been to our family.
As I wrote in last year’s update, Blue Cross returned to the exchange, and Humana left. There were two good results for us: one of our doctors that we see regularly was back in network, and our premium was so low that Advance Premium Tax Credit covered the whole thing. Yes, you read that correctly: our monthly payment was reduced to zero. On the negative side, our deductible went up to (I think) 1350 per person, and John has still not met his. And even after the deductible is met, we are now on a 50-50 plan instead of the 80-20 we had become used to–and this was the only choice we had.
We haven’t had major medical expenses this year, so we have made out just fine with this plan. I haven’t run the numbers, but my sense is that not having to pay a premium made up for the higher deductible, especially since we still get the negotiated rate advantage on all our prescriptions. But we got a letter the other day saying that this plan is going away and we are going to have to pick a different Blue Cross plan for next year. These changes do get old, but my preview of Healthcare.gov last week left me hopeful–we have several plans to pick from and they look as good as what we have currently.
Another bright spot was a letter I received from Humana (last year’s insurer) a few weeks ago–a letter that included a check refunding us a portion of our premiums! Apparently a little-known aspect of the ACA requires that if insurers earn over a certain amount of profits, they must refund a percentage of the premiums paid. Yes, you read that right–under the terms of this imploding law that is so bad for insurance companies and consumers alike, Humana ended up doing so well that they had to give me money back!
So, yes, no matter what you may have been hearing in the news, Obamacare lives on, and is still helping people, with all its flaws. It needs changes but it doesn’t need to be repealed. And the constant uncertainty caused by the GOP threats to get rid of it isn’t helping anyone. I know it hasn’t been the unadulterated blessing it has been for us for some of my readers, and I am sorry for that. But I continue to believe it is important for me to share the positive experiences that the ACA has brought to this previously uninsured family.
For more of my writing on the Affordable Care Act aka ObamaCare, see below and click away!
The $64,000 Question, Answered
Who Are the Uninsured?
Uninsured No More
ObamaCare Update 2
ObamaCare: My Latest Update
More on Our Journey to Health, Brought to You by Obamacare
It’s Good to Be Insured: An ObamaCare Update
Obamacare in Practice: An Update
An Open Letter to My Friends Who Want to Repeal ObamaCare
Obamacare Update: Good, Bad, and Ugly
Not Repealed and Not Imploding: An Obamacare Update