I got the word yesterday that my COBRA plan, scheduled to term out at the end of January, instead will end November 30. My former company went Chapter 7 when the Sequester quashed multi-year contracts they held. More below.
Now I had planned to go into the Health Insurance Marketplace and find a replacement policy that would commence on February 1, 2014. Now my start date has moved up to January 1, 2014. Plus, I have the additional problem of finding a 30-day "bridge" plan to tide me over in case of disaster.
I am an independent contractor, in effect a small business sole proprietor. At 62, I'm unlikely to be hired by a company that would extend benefits to me. So it's into the Exchange! Virginia does not have its own, but at least they have allowed Navigators to help. I met with Bill Botts, the former Legal Aid Advisor here who came out of retirement to be the ACA Navigator.
I can tell you the website is working (slightly) better than before, I can login and so we completed (so we thought) my application. While I'm bumping up against the limit to qualify for a subsidy, there should be some small amount of help available and I will be grateful for it. Bill is a great guy, a true public servant. This was on Monday 11/11.
Yesterday, Tuesday 11/12, I logged on and found a lot of stuff on my application that didn't "take". I called the toll-free number, and was told the website was still having trouble "verifying" applicants. I was asked to send a photocopy of ID (e.g., driver's license, voter registration, etc) to London, KY and please refer to my application number. I'm getting that in the mail (certified) today, 11/13.
The choices available aren't great here in Stafford County, four providers including two Anthems. I've decided on an Anthem Silver policy that has a base price about $200 more than what I was paying for my COBRA group plan, and of course with more deductibles, etc. but all in all it's reasonable and if I'm qualified for a subsidy, that will help defray the cost a bit.
In the meantime, I went on Anthem's website and I applied for a 30-day Short Term Policy with $1000 deductible. No idea if I will be accepted, as I'm a Type II Diabetic though overall in good health.
I will leave you with a story Bill Botts told me, of a Tea Party couple who came in and when they'd found their plan and what it would cost, told Bill, "We still hate Obama but this is a good deal."
That's what you're not hearing from Fox News or the Wingnutsphere.