Writing about our ObamaCare experiences with the future of the program so much in doubt seems almost pointless, but I did promise to keep honestly updating you so here’s the latest.
Learning that Blue Cross was pulling out of the Marketplace in our area was really scary. We were used to everything about the plan after three years and were happy with it. I wasn’t looking forward to getting onto the (terrible, still) Healthcare.gov site and having to compare all the plans like I had to do when we first signed up.
Turns out I didn’t have to worry about that, because when I finally got through the approximately three hours over three days of attempts and two phone calls it took me to update my application (yes, really), I had one choice and one choice only.
We have Humana now and before I get into the nitty gritty of the pros and cons of that, can I just mention that Humana announced that they too will be pulling out of the Marketplace in 2018? Which will leave us . . . where? I don’t even exactly know. If someone else were in charge of the country I’d be confident it would be fixed by then. As it is . . . well, I am not going to worry about it yet because what’s the point.
So here’s the good, the bad, and the ugly update:
I guess the ugly would be that even though Jake is under 26 and should be eligible to be covered by our insurance, and even though we’ve been allowed to include a non-dependent child of the proper age in the past, the system flat out refused to let me sign up with him included. And the nice person on the phone said it was because he isn’t a dependent for tax purposes, but right there ON THE WEBSITE INSTRUCTIONS it said he was still eligible. But none of us were going to get covered if I didn’t take him off. So then I tried to apply for him on his own, but because our governor in his “wisdom” declined the Medicaid expansion (which is also why we are losing insurers), Jake’s one of the unlucky who fall into the hole between being eligible for Medicaid and qualifying for a subsidy, which makes no sense, but whatever. So what that means is that he cannot afford to pay for the high deductible catastrophic plan he was offered, and is currently uninsured until he has another opportunity to sign up at work (which he didn’t do at the proper time BECAUSE WE WERE COVERING HIM). Hopefully he will qualify for one of the many exceptions to the mandate and won’t have to pay a fine come next year’s tax time.
And now for the bad: Our deductible had been ridiculously low–$300 per person, $600 per family. We were able to knock it out in a month or two mostly with prescriptions. This year it’s $900/$1800. I know that’s still way lower than many people so I shouldn’t complain too much. The other bad thing is that some of our doctors–specifically, our mental health professionals–are out of network. And since we are not going to change psychologists, we will be paying out of pocket for that. Happily, our provider is working with us and charging what insurance would pay him if we had it; but that’s still $45 more a week than we were paying before. Finally, Walgreens doesn’t take Humana, if you can believe it. The closest pharmacy that does is Food City. So I had to transfer about a million (give or take) prescriptions, and will have to actually WALK INSIDE to get our medicines, and do so before 7 p.m.
But there is also some good, some of it actually very good. Our premium dropped by $450. We are paying $241 a month! (By the way, this is for four people, as William and Lorelei are still on TennCare even though we have tried to sign them up with the rest of us.) And there is no deductible for prescriptions–they are covered immediately. They might be slightly more expensive but I got thirteen medications for about $65 so I’m calling that a good deal. Of course that means they won’t apply to the deductible so it’s going to take longer to meet it, but all and all I wouldn’t be surprised if our overall costs end up being lower this year.
So there you have it. We shall enjoy it while we can and I will update you if anything interesting happens. 🙂
P.S. When anyone calls ObamaCare a failure, direct them here. It has problems, it needs fixing, but it has helped us and many others. It needs to be REPAIRED, not REPEALED.
For more of my ObamaCare stories, see below and click away!