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It's a done deal. After a couple of week's frustration (about which I wrote a diary) I finally enrolled in my new healthcare plan online through the new national exchange. I am blessed that I can afford a Platinum plan (which I need because I use a lot of health care) but I will, nevertheless, pay $35 a month less than my 2013 AccessTN monthly premium (TN's preexisting condition program (thank you TN-Dem Gov. Bredesen)) and for a deductible of $0.00 (not my current $1,000) and a generic drug copay of $4.00 (not my current $10)! All my current providers are included in the plan. That's a guaranteed health care savings of $1500 next year over this year and for the highest level care available.

Thank you Mr. President, Speaker Pelosi, Majority Leader Reid! The free market works for me!

This in no way lessens my support for and advocacy of a single-payer system. Medicare for All is inevitable and will be a much better solution. But in the meantime this system is awesome.

I haven't changed my mind since my previous diary expressing my initial frustration with the national exchange. There is still no excuse for technical debacle at healthcare.gov. It was a gargantuan opportunity missed. But what's done is done and I am covered as of January 1 without bumping up to the December 15 deadline. That would have been a true disaster.

So I say again, Thank you Mr. President, Speaker Pelosi, Majority Leader Reid! The free market works for me!

Originally posted to EquityRoy on Sun Oct 13, 2013 at 07:12 AM PDT.

Also republished by Three Star Kossacks.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Outstanding! (5+ / 0-)

    If you think you're too small to be effective, you've never been in the dark with a mosquito.

    by marykk on Sun Oct 13, 2013 at 07:26:45 AM PDT

  •  The Colorado exchange is really bad also (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gary Norton, Tennessee Dave

    On the Colorado exchange, if you want to see if you're eligible for federal tax credits, you actually have to apply and be rejected for Medicaid first!  It's truly insane.

    There are plenty of calculators out there that ask you 3 or 4 questions and then tell you how much you are eligible for.  In the CO. exchange, they transfer you to the Medicaid application form and you spend a couple hours filling out 10-20 web pages with maybe 60 questions with bank accounts and IRA accounts and on and on, and then you have to wait until they decide if you're eligible, and they don't tell you how long it will be.  I already know I'm not eligible.

    The craziest thing is, if you're eligible for Medicaid and you sign up for the tax credits, who gets hurt?  Not the state!  So if they find out later somebody was eligible for Medicaid, just switch them to Medicaid, instead of forcing everybody to jump through a gazillion unnecessary hoops and then leaving them hanging to find out what's going on.

    This ain't rocket science!  These exchanges are incredibly incompetent and LOTS of heads should roll over this mess.  People need to be fired!  This is exactly what the Republicans wanted to happen.

  •  it's a pity you are only saving $1500 (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ladybug53

    I had hoped that the savings would be more. Still, I'm glad that you found the system worked for you, and you got a great deal!

    •  Saving something, costing something (0+ / 0-)

      I'm currently on COBRA insurance, which is about $550/month.  I'll be looking into the exchange to see if there is a decent plan for me.  Who knows what the future will bring, health-care wise, but this year, the "billed amount" of my health care was over $55,000 and last year, a very similar amount.  I've had several surgeries plus three serious problems with my eyes.  I'm just grateful that my pre-existing conditions won't exclude me from coverage.  But really, with the costs I've incurred, I don't expect to save any money.  Either you pay for the insurance, or you pay for the co pays and deductibles.  It is a gamble.  My very healthy husband just signed up for a Medicare Advantage program which he figures will save us $10,000 over 10 years compared to Medigap, assuming he stays healthy.  And no one can count on that.

  •  Actually, there are several excuses for the (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cedwyn, congenitalefty, allensl, ladybug53

    'technical debacle' of healthcare.gov.  

    Instituting a complicated program in almost 3 dozen states for one.

     the number of hits in week one exceeded twitter hits in its first two years.

     red state obstructionism.

    did they underestimate demand?  clearly.  
    have they resolved the issues quickly? mostly

    I can't believe that people cannot appreciate the undertaking this was and provide some slack.

    "Don't Bet Against Us" - President Barack Obama

    by MRA NY on Sun Oct 13, 2013 at 07:55:25 AM PDT

    •  I disagree. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Tennessee Dave

      We're at day 13 of a system that cost half a billion dollars.  I've encountered too many stupid errors to cut the management any more slack.  At this rate, an editorial cartoon I saw is going to come true.

      Republican no. 1:  Delay Obamacare for one year.
      Republican no. 2:  It's taking me that long to sign on.
      Republican no 1:  Call it a win.
      I will persist until I have enrolled in a plan, and I despise the Teapublicans,  but this is shameful.

      I am become Man, the destroyer of worlds

      by tle on Sun Oct 13, 2013 at 09:34:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Two separate problems (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MRA NY, Tennessee Dave

      1. Overwhelmed by demand especially on the first day, and continuing by all the people who aren't really in the market to buy but just want to browse and see what they could buy if they lose their job or whatever.
      2. Really really bad design and coding, such as requiring people to register (and have their identity verified, the log-jam part) just in order to browse -- now fixed, I believe -- and problems verifying information and correctly showing the subsidies.
             In our state system (not the national one), the computer was not able to correctly interpret the fields that added up to "I have access to insurance through my employer but the premiums I would have to pay would be 25% of my income." So it wouldn't show the subsidies, only sticker price. And I knew what the subsidized price should have been (from previous conversations with their staff), and refused to sign up without those. Fortunately, the exchange staff readily understood, we could all do the math in our heads, and the supervisor said, "You obviously don't have access to affordable coverage, so just put 'no' and we'll bypass that screen," and they documented the facts in their notes that I had provided truthful information.

    •  But if it were state by state... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Tennessee Dave

      Would it be better or worse if each state had implemented its own exchange?  Probably some better, some worse, but the feds would have no control to fix it.

  •  someone got through it all (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Tennessee Dave

    Good to know that it's even possible.

    I keep getting hung up during the income process. Stupid site just sits there at the end without a 'Save and Continue' button.

  •  *sigh* (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    allensl, Gary Norton, Tennessee Dave

    I'm really happy you're going to get better insurance and save some money...

    That said, watching the early freakouts of so many people is like following a game thread and a fan site.

    "I haven't changed my mind since my previous diary expressing my initial frustration with the national exchange. There is still no excuse for technical debacle at healthcare.gov. It was a gargantuan opportunity missed."

    translates into:

    "I'm still pissed that they didn't go for it on 4th down int eh 1st quarter!"

    after a win.

    I'm a gamer. Ever try to play an MMO (particularly in the fledgling era of these games) within a week or two of launch? Or even within a week or two of major updates?

    It is what it is. Millions of hits in a couple of days (no doubt more than a few quiet attacks or mischief-making, too) in a system that HAS TO protect the privacy of the people coming in, and HAS TO be very careful about fraud.

    When we get into November, if there are still serious problems, I'll be worried. Until that time, we need the people, like YOU, who have found success in the system to do what YOU did here: scream it from the rooftops.

    I know a few hours of time can be frustrating, but measure that against a $1,500 savings (and that's only counting the FIRST YEAR!!!!!) and that's a pretty good hourly wage, eh?

    •  This is the best US President in history but ... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      chimene

      Why is it so hard for some folks to admit when the Obama Administration screws the pooch? I am thrilled at that the new health care system is in place but they should never have launched a website that was unable to perform its basic function. I will complain about lousy customer service even from an Administration or a President I support and I do not apologize for the complaining when they put me through not hours of inconvenience but days of inconvenience due to utter incompetence. Read the article in today's NY Times, From the Start, Signs of Trouble at Health Portal, if you think the Administration didn't know there was a problem before the launch. Again, it boils down to expecting reasonable customer service from our government. Otherwise we all live in a Kafka short story. And once again, sincerely, thank you Mr. President, Speaker Pelosi, Majority Leader Reid! Your plan for health care totally works for me.

      "no more hurting people - peace" Martin William Richard

      by EquityRoy on Sun Oct 13, 2013 at 09:56:28 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  PS. T&R, everyone, please! (5+ / 0-)

    Please excuse the fat fingers in the previous post (long night at Fenway).

    Tipping and reccing this, and I hope others will.

    We should fill up the front page with diaries like this and keep them there. Why? For propaganda?

    No, but because we are doing a service to our fellow Americans by showing them anecdotes like this, perhaps inspiring some of them to go out and at least try to give Obamacare a chance before freaking out over it.

  •  Some get Happyville, Others get Pain City. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ladybug53

    Article behind the Register Wall

    The front page headline of today’s Sunday Chicago Tribune was “Obamacare Deductibles May Cause Sticker Shock.”

    I don’t get the paper, but this may be a copy of the article on-line.

    If the 33-year-old single father wants the same level of coverage next year as what he has now with the same insurer and the same network of doctors and hospitals, his monthly premium of $233 will more than double. If he wants to keep his monthly payments in check, the Carpentersville resident is looking at an annual deductible for himself and his 7-year-old daughter of $12,700, a more than threefold increase from $3,500 today.

    Whether Obama and Sibelius know or care about this now is anyone’s guess, but maybe it won’t be much longer before they have to answer questions about it.

    There are additional concerns about the value of the exchange plans.  Be careful what you buy and check to see if your doctor and hospital are included in the network and what services will be out of network.
    •  And that is why we should fight for single payer (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ladybug53, splashoil, ybruti, Cordyc

      Medicare for All is the only long-term solution to health care costs both for premiums and for hospital bills.

      "no more hurting people - peace" Martin William Richard

      by EquityRoy on Sun Oct 13, 2013 at 09:59:29 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  They're cherrypicking (0+ / 0-)

      negative cases. That isn't to say that this increase wouldn't cause real strain for this particular family, and actually it sounds so bad I wonder how real it is (or whether it's simply due to a strange quirk with respect to the region or individual circumstances). But I bet a 33-year-old woman (for instance), with a daughter of 7, would see her premiums go down.

      Plus, I also bet this man's $233 plan would have increased by another 10-20% by January (the corresponding year for exchange quotes), and then when he turns 35 and then 40 and so on, he'll actually start to benefit due to the community age rating built in to the law, which will essentially keep a tighter lid on the yearly increases he'd see going forward. Over his lifetime, then, assuming he kept insurance on the individual market, his savings would probably be significant.

      As for network resources, it sounds like there's reason to be concerned here, though I'm thinking that if the exchanges really take off (as I expect them to), insurance companies will have little choice but to expand the networks, and doctors and providers would probably be missing out on good business to refuse to join. In other words, these networks now are just outlines of what they'll soon be. They'll be filled out substantially over time.

      •  Less overhead (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        itskevin, splashoil

        Doctors who don't join the networks have less overhead because they don't have to hire insurance clerks to submit all those claims for the patients.  But they miss out on the direct payments from the insurance company.  

        The biggest problem with the out of network doctors isn't that the insurance company doesn't have them under contract for a discounted rate, it is that the insurance most likely puts those providers into a separate category of "non-network provider" which usually means a whole NEW AND BIGGER deductible as well as an additional, LARGER, out of pocket maximum before the insurance pays.  

        My daughter saw just such a doctor, highly recommended.  We could never get a dime from the insurance for her visits to him, due to the new deductible and out of pocket max.  The insurance company imposed a reduced amount that they would credit toward these expenses even though they never paid.

      •  Cherry Picking by Exchange Insurers! (0+ / 0-)

        That is where it is done.  Extremely limited provider options equals rationing and needless delays.  You can be forced out of network to get care.  Medical jeopardy or financial ruin?  What's your pleasure as Barack would ask.

    •  sounds like un-subsidized rates (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Cordyc

      If you are not eligible for the subsidies -- or the reporter is looking at unsubsidized premiums -- then premiums that your employer shares may well be a better deal.

      In that case, just stay with the coverage you already have, just like the President says. You are not forced to switch.

      The reporters covering this, and especially the ones doing these "for instance" examples, seem in many cases to have been pulled from the pool that covers the pie contest at the state fair, and many of them have no idea what they're talking about or even what questions to ask.

    •  Well, buying insurance is always a gamble... (0+ / 0-)

      Just like the two times we upped the deductibles on our car insurance and cars smacked into ours within a few months.  We "saved" far less than we had to pay out to meet our deductible.  But at least we were able to get our cars fixed.

      Low cost insurance will cover less than high cost insurance, if the overhead is somewhat comparable.  That is just a fact of life, simple arithmetic.  

      My husband hasn't used a dime of health care in years and years, except for a check up about every 5 years and a dislocated shoulder about 15 years ago.  Would you call this insurance a waste of money?  Well, considering that I'm under his policy and I've had about $110000 in "billed amount" of health care in 2012 + 2013, it sure hasn't been a waste of money.  

  •  Awesome, congrats!!! n/t (0+ / 0-)
  •  Thank you for posting -- I'm in also (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ybruti

    though it took a trip into the state exchange office yesterday to work around the computer kinks. I'm a low-level user so chose one of the bronze plans, since I've basically been self-insuring for 100% and now only have to self-insure 40% -- and 0% on preventative care.

    I am frankly flabbergasted that the private companies to whom they outsourced the code-writing did such a poor job. Private business is supposed to be so good, efficient, and competent at all that, aren't they?

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