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My wife and I are 44 and we have a 7yo daughter. I have been self employed for more than 10 years and my wife has been a stay-at-home Mom for the last 7 years. During that 10 years, I have never been able to afford a decent health insurance plan because the rates were $800-$1300 per month. I self-payed the entire time.

I tried to sign up 3-4 times on healthcare.gov starting in October and could never get the site to work. It either gave me a nasty error or would say that my identity couldn't be verified. Finally, about 2 weeks ago, I was able to register a new account and go through the entire process by using Internet Explorer instead of FireFox.

In 2013, I earned $63k gross and after I did my taxes I had $42.5k adjusted gross income. I will owe more than $8000 in taxes because of self-employment tax. However, due to our income level, I was approved for a tax credit of $640/month and there were 8 plans for me to choose from. However, all of the plans were from a single company and a "decent" plan with a somewhat high deductible would cost me $241/month. There were "Bronze" plans that were $65/month with a high deductible but they did have a $30 copay for primary doctor visits and 40% coinsurance for prescriptions as well as 40% coinsurance for hospital stays, etc. So, I signed up for that $65/month plan for my wife and I because my daughter qualified for Medicaid through South Carolina Healthy Connections.

A couple of days later, I received a letter from BlueChoice HealthPlan of South Carolina (Blue Cross Blue Shield). I hadn't noticed ANY plans on the marketplace from BC/BS so I decided to call them to find out more information... and I am glad that I did. First of all, they told me that there was an issue with the state that was preventing their plans from being offered in the marketplace when I asked. I was surprised by this as BC/BS is probably the one of the biggest insurers.

I am glad that I called because they offered me a great "Silver" plan with a low deductible and it is only costing us roughly $30/month! This is with a $25 copay for primary doctor visits, $10 generic prescription copay, etc. A better plan than most of the employer provided plans that I have had in the past (except no dental)!

If you are in South Carolina, I recommend you call Kay Henry @ 877-641-3312 and she can take you through the whole process.

The sad part about being here in SC is that if you earn between something like $7500 and $20,000 you don't qualify for either Medicaid OR subsidy. Stupid Republicans.

In closing, I want to note that - as a soon-to-be 45 year old man - the fact that I can finally afford health insurance is a huge weight taken from my shoulders. I finally don't have to worry that one of us is going to have to go to the hospital and that I am going to go broke paying for it... not to mention that I can finally afford to have regular doctor checkup and attend to issues that I already have. The ACA is not perfect for sure... but it certainly is helping people like me.

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