My husband and I are a couple of the lucky ones in our current economy. Although he was laid off in the Spring of 2012, he was only unemployed for a few months before he was picked up by a major financial company at a six figure salary. He works in the tech field and is a senior management level specialist. We also have a small business as lapidaries (stone cutters) and jewelers, mainly working in silver. I am a stay at home wife, disabled (as is my husband), and I am covered on his insurance policy.
This past week my husband and I received our new health insurance packet for 2014. Our previous policy was cancelled by the insurance company, in part because it was a great policy for a reasonable amount of money (at least that's what I think), and supposedly it didn't meet the new standards under the PPACA (actually it surpassed the standards). What we will have in 2014 is about $150 more per month with a higher deductible, a Healthcare Savings Account and a Flexible Spending Account. There are many pros and cons within the new program, but we are pretty happy with it.
With both of us having pre-existing conditions just being able to have full coverage takes a great weight off our shoulders. Not having to pay almost twice as much to have me on his policy is another thing we're happy about ( in his last job I was a liability and we paid through the nose for limited coverage for me). Both of us being over 50, we expected to be hit with major expensive changes, since the insurance companies seem to be charging more for employee sponsored insurance policies right now (hopefully once the PPACA is fully implemented prices will go down a bit). We may be spending more than last year, but all in all, I think it's worth it.
A few months ago, when we were first discussing what new changes we might have in our insurance, my husband was very upset that we might have to spend more money for less coverage. I had been avidly reading everything I could on the changes that would come from implementation of the PPACA and wasn't worried. He'd spent way too much time watching Faux News and thought the sky was falling.
Yes, unfortunately I am married to a Republican who watches Faux News, but at least in the five years we've been together I've gotten him to stop listening to Glenn Beck and Limpballs all together. Hopefully, within another five years, I can get him to stop watching that lying, conniving news channel too. After the latest fiascos in Washington, he HAS decided to register independent and is seriously looking for democratic candidates to get behind in the next few election cycles, but that may take some time to occur, since he still thinks the word 'liberal' is one you say in a whisper as if it's a dirty word.
When we starting talking about the possibilities and the price of new insurance there was one thing I kept stressing to him - us paying a little more would directly benefit those less fortunate than ourselves. I kept telling him how those few extra dollars would ensure that my sister with Lupus had good coverage (up until now she's not been able to get insurance); that it would ensure better coverage for both our mothers living on Social Security; that we'd be helping people at his work with lower-paying jobs get the best insurance they've ever had; that our neighbor next door would be able to keep his college kids on his policy until they were self sufficient (at least you'd hope they'd be self sufficient by the time they were twenty six).
He'd still grumble about prices going up and say it was unfair, but I wouldn't back down. I'd tell him we could afford a few extra dollars whereas our mothers couldn't. I'd tell him how my sister cried, the last time I saw her, over the fact that she no longer had to worry about her children living a life of poverty because of her expensive uninsured health care. I'd tell him how our neighbor was no longer worried about unexpected illness with his college aged kids and the financial toll it could take on the whole family.
I'd tell him how those few extra dollars would help my stepchildren, his children. How my stepdaughter with a young family, who's husband would soon be leaving the military, and who'd need good coverage for themselves and their children. How one of our grandsons would be covered when the illness he was born with began to take its toll on his body. How my twenty one year old stepson would be able to get catastrophic coverage at a reasonable price so he wouldn't be bankrupted if he had an accident. How our niece would be able to have that baby she's been dreaming of, now that she can afford the insurance to cover it.
It took repeated efforts on my part to get my husband to see the brighter side of spending a few more dollars every month, but it was seeing how much better things would be for those around us that made him see the light. In the last week, since we've gotten our new policy, we've heard from several people about how PPACA is going to better their lives. My sister and her husband found a great policy for the whole family for a reasonable amount of money and she won't have to worry about outrageous medical bills and their financial toll; my mother called to tell me her new plan would pay even more of her prescription costs; our neighbor stopped by and told us how he ended up getting a plan that cost less and covered more, including his kids in college; our niece called to tell us how they found a great policy that enabled them to start planning that family they want; my stepson stopped by to let me know I could stop worrying about him, he'd found a policy for less than $50 a month (with subsidies) that was a step above catastrophic care.
I asked my husband last night about how he felt now about spending a few dollars more a month, after the past week. He sighed and then told me I was right. It IS worth a few dollars more to know we're helping those around us, and it's worth it to be able to worry less about those we love. To me, it's more than worth it.