I am one of the 106,185 people that have successfully selected a health care plan under the Affordable Care Act or, as it is commonly called in the press, Obamacare.
Before I get into the specifics of that, let’s back up the train a bit and go through some personal history. On May 4th of this year, I was in a cab on a Saturday afternoon heading to the St. Louis Cinco de Mayo parade with two friends. My cab driver was texting and as a result rolled through a red light, we collided head-on with a van and I wound up in the hospital requiring 5 total surgeries and spent five and a half months in two hospitals and a nursing home. I have a new hip, will be in physical therapy for my shoulder for another year and without insurance I would have been doomed. (You can read about it near the end of this article)
My current bill for health insurance is $628.34/mo and only covers me. This is insane. No one I know pays this much for health insurance, so when Healthcare.Gov was announced, I was cautiously optimistic- I had also gotten a letter from Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Illinois informing me my policy was being cancelled.
After winning an Arch Grant in 2012, I moved from Chicago to St. Louis and therefore had to purchase a Missouri plan through the ACA website. I went to HealthCare.Gov to sign up and saw this:
I am sure no one here will be shocked to learn that this happened to me, oh, maybe the first twenty or thirty times I tried to get in. No dice. The chat was broken, the site was broken and my insurance was getting canceled at the end of December. I was furious, but held out hope the government would get their act together and get the site fixed. As someone who covers this stuff for a living, you can imagine the groans and string of four letter words that flew from my lips.
A couple weeks ago, I finally managed to create an account, login to my account and shop for health insurance. In the interests of complete transparency, I am going to share my options and what I finally went with.
Below were some of the lower cost choices I had available:
Based on my experiences earlier this year, I decided I wanted the absolute best I could afford and decided to forgo the ‘bronze’ plans and signed up for a ‘Gold’ plan. (Plans are rated bronze, silver and gold with prices rising for the better plans).
After I chose my plan rated ‘gold’ here is my new bill for health insurance under Obamacare:
I am saving $265.85/mo under Obamacare, for a total savings of $3,190.20/year
This plan is far better than what I had before. My current plan has a deductible of $3,000 and has a $20 co-pay. Under Obamacare, my new plan has a $750 deductible and $30 co-pay for doctor’s visits. For me, I’ll happily pay an extra $10 when I visit the doctor in return for a smaller copay for the important stuff.
If you look, the most I’ll ever pay in one year is $6000- after that I am 100% covered for everything. If you look at my plan details, you’ll see that if I am in-network, after the deductible is covered ($750) then almost everything gets covered 100%. This is leagues better than my old plan.
Take a look at what my plan offers and see how your insurance compares:
After I posted my experience on my Facebook page, a firestorm of comments ensued between my friends that are both pro- and anti- Obamacare, depending on their political leanings snd personal experiences. For me, it was more simple- As an entrepreneur, I have been getting screwed by the healthcare system in America and thanks to Obamacare, those days are (I hope) over.
The biggest point for me is that my new plan under Obamacare is with Blue Cross/Blue Shield, the same company that my old plan was under. That means they were happily over-charging me for insurance and now, thanks to Obamacare, I have a better plan than I had before and I am paying less for it. Also of note- I did not qualify for subsidies- I am paying the full rate.
I cannot speak to anyone else’s experience on Obamacare and the Affordable Care Act, but for me it is working exactly as the President said it would- my plan is cheaper and better than it was before.
Finally, the hype over the, “you can keep your plan” media-fueled crisis is silly. My old plan was not as good as my new one, and its cheaper. Why would anyone keep a plan that is worse for them?
Have you had a personal experience with Obamacare? Let us know in the comments.
*Some people have asked what exactly the plan I signed up for covers- here are more details: