By now, everyone knows that the President’s claim that “if you like your plan, you can keep your plan” was a stretch of the imagination, if not a flat-out lie. Millions of people who bought their policies on the open market found out the hard way that we would not, in fact, be able to keep our plans late last summer.
But, as the newly illegal plans were cancelled one by one, people started freaking out in the media, on the news, on radio shows, and in local town hall meetings. And due to the backlash, many of the plans were extended another year, including mine.
Even though my plan got a one-year extension, I still tinkered around with the new healthcare exchange to see what the future might hold. You can read those old posts here, here, and here. I still remember the first time I got on Healthcare.gov and found that the cheapest plan available would cost nearly $800 per month and come with a $12,000 family deductible. $12,000 with no vision coverage, no dental, no nothing. I thought it had to be a mistake at first. A $12,000 deductible? That couldn’t be right, could it?
Unfortunately, it wasn’t a mistake at all- it was entirely planned. And since we make more than 400 percent of the federal poverty limit, we were expected to pay up or pay a fine. The good news was, I had a year to figure something else out. I watched the news and waited, hoping that new options might come available somehow.
Then this past weekend, I received a piece of mail that I’ve been dreading- my 2015 Anthem health insurance package. The affordable health insurance we have had for several years is finally going to expire. Finally. But what would they replace it with? I braced myself as I opened the Anthem mailer to find out.
Since Indiana insurers asked for rate increases between 9 percent and 46 percent for 2015, I didn’t have any illusions that premiums would go down. And I wasn’t disappointed. In the letter, Anthem offered to automatically enroll me in their least expensive and most comparable plan to what I already had- an Anthem Bronze Pathway plan with a $12,000 family deductible. The price tag? A cool $897 per month- more than the minimum payment on my mortgage.
To put things in perspective, our old Anthem plan was $393 per month and came with an $11,000 deductible. So aside from the fact that they are asking for a 120% increase of my premiums, my deductible would actually go up with this plan. Hard to believe, isn’t it?
Not only would I be paying $504 more per month just for insurance, but I also wouldn’t see any benefit unless we spent $12,000 (or $1,000 per month) on healthcare in a calendar year. And even if we did spend $1,000 per month on care until we reached our deductible, the calendar year would start over- and along with it, the deductible.
I would laugh if it weren’t so incredibly sad.
It’s Not Only About Affordability, It’s About Value
I have to wonder what the people in charge of creating this law were smoking the day they came up with this scam. Sure, many of us who make more than 400 percent of the Federal Poverty Limit ($94,000 for a family of 4) can afford to pay $900 per month for health insurance or more. Hell, many of us can even afford to pay a $12,000 deductible. But, will we?
I know I sure as hell won’t.
Because, to me, it has very little to do with what I can afford and everything to do with value. There is little value to be found in a health insurance plan that requires me to shell out $12,000 for a deductible before I see a dollar of coverage. That is, of course, taking into consideration our “free well visits.” <insert eye roll here>
The truth is, I could afford a lot of things- including a $897 monthly premium and a $12,000 deductible. I don’t deny that.
But, guess what….
- I could also afford the $800 monthly payment on a new BMW 4-Series if I really wanted one.
- And according to this housing calculator, my husband and I can afford the payment on a home up to $600,000.
- I can afford to quit my job and sit on my ass all day, living off my husband’s salary.
- I could afford to replace my sapphire engagement ring with a diamond so big many people would find it offensive.
But I don’t do or buy any of those things. Why? Because I know a bad value when I see one, and because I am focused on saving for retirement, for my children’s college education, and for the future.
In summary, we’re not opting out of Obamacare because we cannot afford it. We’re opting out because it is a complete rip-off, a sad joke, and a money-grab of epic proportions. Instead, we’ve opted to join a healthcare sharing ministry, a situation I’ll write more about more in the coming weeks.
We’ll be without traditional health insurance for the first time in our lives in just a few months- a development I find troubling. I have to wonder if that was somehow what the law intended, or if the architects of this law really expected the middle class to pay so heavily for care they would likely never receive. Either way, I just can’t bring myself to pour $900 per month into the black hole that is Obamacare while getting almost nothing in return.
Because, $900 per month for a plan with a $12,000 deductible isn’t affordable healthcare- it’s extortion.
For more of our thoughts on Obamacare and Healthcare Sharing Ministries, try these awesome posts: