I have been reluctant to publicly join the health care debate. I have gotten to the point that I feel I must speak about what the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) has done to my family.
I am a freelance writer. I have purchased private health insurance since 2007. I was opposed to Obamacare but tried to give it some benefit of the doubt.
“If you like your plan, you can keep your plan”
There are at least 37 documented times that Barrack Obama and his cabinet said “If you like your plan, you can keep your plan” or similar. That was fine with me. My family carried a great policy with a high deductible. We got doctor visits and cheap prescriptions. Our deductible was capped if we had a major bill.
In 2013, my family received a cancellation notice from our insurance company. The notice stated that the policy did not conform to ACA standards so it must be discontinued under federal law. This ran contrary to the previous promises made.
Our insurance company gave us one out. We could extend one year knowing that our rates would go up about 15% and we would have to pay the Obamacare fine for not carrying proper coverage. We decided we would not renew the policy.
Nevada created a health insurance exchange but it never worked properly. The state blew $72 million on it before abandoning it. We could have given health insurance free for a year to about 10,000 families for that amount. It is now the target of numerous lawsuits.
I tried to get insurance through the exchange but it never worked properly. The questionnaire asked only one question per page that would have to be confirmed two additional times. Once the site timed out all of this information would be lost and I would have to start over.
After wasting hours trying to get the site to work I was finally able to get quotes. Premiums were more than double what we paid for deductibles that were not much different than the ones we already carried. We were forced to carry coverage for ridiculous items we do not need and would never use that contributed to this increase. Being forced to leave the insured group’s loyalty discount also contributed to the difference. My wife and I decided that our family would go without health insurance.
Obama admitted that he lied about the insured being able to keep their policies in November 2013. He offered a chance for existing insured to keep their coverage for another year and not pay the fines. We reconsidered our carrier’s offer and renewed it for one year.
It is hard to think that anyone would have voted for this law had known the insured would become uninsured. Those that were misled should have a second chance to vote.
Nevada Health Exchange Sold Us Policy We Never Created
Fast forward to March 2014. We started receiving insurance information from Nevada’s child health care program known as Nevada Checkup. The notices stated that if our children were already insured then we could not use the cards. Since our kids were insured these cards were of no use to us.
The next month we received more information from Nevada Checkup. I decided to contact them to see why this was happening. Their voicemail system is nearly always full when I call so there is no way to leave a message most times.
I did get through one time to the voicemail and left a message. I got a call back. The woman asked me to return her call in a message. She did not leave her number and she called from a private number so it was blocked from called ID.
I decided not to waste any more time with this until the end of May when I started receiving bills for this insurance we never signed up for and never used. I again tried to contact Nevada Checkup, but to no avail due to the voicemail being full.
I received a packet of information from two insurance companies that appeared to be vying for my business related to this state program. I called both. Neither could find me in their system with the account number, names, date of births and Social Security Numbers of my family.
I also called Medicaid, which had a number listed in this mountain of documentation. The woman I encountered at Medicaid was extremely helpful but she also could not locate my family in the system. I again unsuccessfully tried to contact Nevada Checkup.
I am not paying the premiums since I never signed up for this policy. I am concerned that my credit could be damaged or someone collection company try to sue me for nonpayment. I have also spent a good 20 hours on this entire nightmare, taking time away from my business and family.
Policy Canceled in 2014
I received a notice today, October 14, that our policy would be canceled and there would be no reconsideration this time. We will now have to go without health insurance due to the law that was allegedly written to get people insured. Now that we are getting older we will not have insurance because we can no longer afford all of the crap that is forced into policies. This obviously would not happen if we were able to keep the existing policy, as promised.
The feds have now extended non-ACA policies through 2017. This is up to state insurance commissioners. To the best of my knowledge, Nevada is not allowing any of these policies to remain active so this change of policy appears to be of no help to us.
The federal government clearly sees the damage caused to families like mine since it kicked the can down the road several years. It is baffling that policy cannot be enacted into law to put this issue to rest once and for all.
I understand that the health insurance situation in the U.S. was not ideal and that was the entire reason behind the new law. The thought behind Obamacare was in the right place. Ramming through legislation nobody bothered to read was not the answer.
It is even more insulting that while I can no longer afford health insurance for my family after December 2014, I will be forced to pay fines that will subsidize other people. There are ways around that, but the fact the law creates this scenario is unethical.
What About Subsidies?
One of the big selling points of Obamacare is that those making under a certain amount would receive federal subsidies for insurance. That is not really the case when you are self employed. When I tried to buy insurance from the Nevada exchange I was forced to submit a W-2. I am self employed and file a Schedule C. Since I could not supply this information, I could not get subsidies.
I was instructed that my subsidies would appear on my tax return in the form of a tax credit. Since I am self employed, I have no idea what I will make in 2014. I am basically being told that I am forced to buy a product that has no predefined price. In that case, one must assume the highest price advertised is the actual price.
Senator Reid Refuses to Act
It is time for Congress to go back and revisit this. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has refused to discuss Obamacare on the Senate floor even though he has received more than 50 bills related to it that already passed the House. Forget little people like me. The Las Vegas casino unions were threatening to strike over Obamacare and he did nothing. It is hard to imagine that he acts in Nevada’s best interests.
Insurance Was Always the Problem
It is hard to argue that giving power to insurance companies was the solution. They are part of the problem. Many insurance policies do not pay anything, they simply create a discount off what the patient pays. The solution was to fix this problem so that the working class could pay a reasonable amount in cash for health care visits. All this does is encourage people to needlessly visit doctors. It also discourages the next generation from entering the medical field.
I’m Not a Conservative
Some people that read this will probably automatically dismiss this as another angry republican. I am a moderate by all accounts, probably even libertarian on some issues. I am certainly not a conservative. I would probably be considered “Nevada Republican” since the party here voted to dump moral issues from its agenda but I do not identify with most republicans as they lose me when they start to force their moral policies into law.
On the other hand, I am baffled that the same party that feels big government should stay out of bedrooms, marriage and abortion feels that forcing Obamacare onto people is somehow different. The school lunch program nutrition debacle is another situation where no logic was applied. There are several other education policies that baffle me, as if federal lawmakers have any idea what policy is best for local public schools.
My point is simply that this health care law that was forced down our throats has millions of people like me in a bad situation. Most of the affected people are self employed or small business owners. There are going to be a lot more contractors in the workplace as employers opt to cut hours and positions to avoid paying their share of Obamacare.
It was certainly not ever anyone’s intention to force families that were already insured into the situation I am in. Unfortunately, it appears that the people responsible for ramming this poorly worded law through Congress refuse to admit their mistakes and fix them. Those people will be looked at as one of the reasons for our epic health care collapse down the road if we cannot convince them to change their ways or vote them out of office, replacing them with those willing to pass a legitimate health care law.
Thank you for reading my rant.