As a self-employed individual, I awaited the opening of the exchanges in great anticipation. My COBRA runs out in a couple of months and other than returning to a regular job, Obamacare is my only option, as my wife is my self-employed partner. The Washington state website had none of the problems experienced on the federal website, so I didn’t have to wait in suspended animation for long. After spending twenty minutes filling in the tedious online application, I finally arrived at the part of the site where we could select from thirty-eight different plans.
Wow! Thirty-eight different plans! Cool!
It was all downhill from there. Obamacare sucks.
Our best option is to pay $867 a month for medical insurance. That’s about $400 cheaper than I pay for COBRA, so that’s a savings of $4800 a year.
Unfortunately, the lowest deductible we could get is $6300. Per individual. Under my current plan we have a $500/$1500 deductible, so we’ll only come out ahead if our luck holds out. Oh, they let you fund a Health Savings Account with these plans, but that’s still money out of my pocket that we have to put aside to cover that steep deductible. That’s called a “shell game” in other milieu.
Our COBRA coverage includes dental insurance. You can’t get dental coverage through Obamacare. Our COBRA also includes vision coverage. You can’t get vision coverage through Obamacare. When you add it up we will be paying more per month under Obamacare than we were under COBRA, and assuming more risk in the process. What’s the point of insurance that doesn’t insure?
I noticed that the thirty-eight plans, offered by several different insurers all had very similar prices and benefits. The Affordable Care Act did nothing to rein in the insurance industry, so what I’m seeing here sure looks like collusion to me. It’s like the insurers are trying very hard to make Obamacare as unpalatable as possible.
A more instructive example came when we looked at insurance for my twenty-six year old son. Currently he pays $131 a month for a private plan. That same plan—the exact same plan from the exact same insurer—will cost him $190 through Obamacare. That’s a 45% increase! One of the basic theories behind Obamacare was that it would drive costs down. They didn’t tell us it would drive costs right down our throats.
I don’t consider myself an entrepreneur, just a guy helping organizations who need the help who also happens to prefer working independently. If you believe that the Republicans won’t score tons of political points when they get wind of stories of entrepreneurs rushing back into the workforce because of crappy, unaffordable health care, you’re living in an alternative universe. For this reason and others, Obamacare is clearly a political disaster in the making.
The Affordable Care Act was a badly designed law made worse by ludicrous regulations and a plethora of loopholes that work against the consumer and for the insurance industry. If allowed to continue, we will see the Republicans in control of Congress after the mid-term elections and another Bush in the White House in 2016. The only way out is for the Democrats to tell the President to take his signature legislation and shove it up his ass. I’m not willing to roll back the gains made on behalf of women and gays over the last six years in exchange for a lousy health plan.
It’s time to pull the plug on Obamacare. Where are those death panels when you need them?