A reader reminds me of another good reason to move back to DC:
I have to give high marks to the District of Columbia for their ACA website. It took me two minutes to create an account, and a couple more minutes to get to the list of available plans. For me, there are 31 options, 30 of which have lower monthly premiums than my current plan, which I’ll admit is expensive ($613 a month just for me).
I am a physician living in Washington, DC. (We’re excited to have you back!) I am working 3/4 time by choice, so I am not eligible for group coverage from my employer (a hospital). I am single, 46 years old, and fairly healthy, and I’ve been buying health insurance on the open market. I have a fairly high deductible policy that covers routine preventive care and dental care and is HSA eligible. I am not eligible for subsidies under the ACA. As a physician, I am thrilled with the ACA for my patients. I have plenty who will now be able to obtain insurance, allowing them to see me when needed and allowing me to be paid.
Yesterday I received a letter from my insurance company stating that, due to the ACA, my current policy will be canceled as of 12/31/13.
I have a choice of renewing my plan at “next year’s rate” (which was not specified in the letter) or buying insurance on the exchange from them or another company. The letter was very clear and did not try to sell me on one of their plans, or tell me I’d “default” to one of their plans if I didn’t do anything.
Bracing myself for a price hike, I called the company today. To my pleasant surprise, they are renewing my current insurance for a year at an increase of exactly $3.00 per month. At the end of next year I’ll have to buy insurance on the exchange, but I’m optimistic by that time the DC exchange will have sorted itself out and I will have reasonable options.
So count me among those with a “shrug” for the change to Obamacare. My impression is that it’s helping a lot of people, hurting a few, and not having a huge effect on the vast majority of the rest of us.
I had been talking with my neighbor on and off the last several weeks about healthcare. He is somebody who I had anticipated ACA would help a lot because he is a self-employed graphic designer who currently does purchase insurance on the individual market. He was excited about ACA, but when we first talked at the end of October, he had not successfully gotten onto healthcare.gov.
He sent me an update e-mail this afternoon, indicating he had gotten onto the site and saved six possible plans to go over in more detail. There are actually enough options that it does take some thinking about one’s personal situation to know which plan might be best given the different premium versus deductible and other out of pocket expenses. But his final paragraph is important to the whole discussion about cost:
All in all the process went fine but I don’t think I’m going to save any money overall. But this is a big step for self employed people. The fact that I don’t have to worry about pre-existing conditions and being turned down for insurance is a huge change from what it was. Can’t wait to hear how many people have signed up. They should know something next week.
I’m sure encouraged that he was able to get onto the website!