Monday, November 18, 2013

I’m the story Obamacare’s opponents don’t want you to hear

I’m the story Obamacare’s opponents don’t want you to hear

I’ve officially enrolled in coverage through the marketplace. It was easier than I expected — and will save me about $10,000 a year.

I just got covered under Obamacare. I already had insurance, but it was breaking my piggy bank. Now I have coverage with almost identical benefits, for less than half the price I’m paying right now.
Even better, my coverage can’t be canceled or limited if I get sick, and I could choose any plan I wanted, despite living with type 2 diabetes. That’s all thanks to the Affordable Care Act or, if you prefer, Obamacare.
Under my current insurance plan, I’m paying $1,400 a month for coverage. Yes, it’s comprehensive. At that price, it had better be. But my rates had been going up by $100 a month annually in the last few years and, as a self-employed woman with a pre-existing condition, I didn’t have a lot of choices.
Starting January 1, I’ll be paying $530 a month for almost identical coverage. Actually, my deductible is less — $150 instead of $250. My prescription co-pay will be just a tad higher, but that still won’t bring me anywhere near what I’m paying per month now. The cost to see a doctor is just about the same if I stay in-network, and the nationwide network is huge. All the other benefits are comparable, with the added bonus of programs to help me better manage my diabetes. Plus, I can keep every single one of my doctors.
This is what I call winning.
Was using cumbersome? Well, yes, at first. But I was patient. I started the enrollment process in mid-October. Knowing they were working on the website, I waited a couple of weeks to check back. I logged in just four or five times to get through the entire process, and every time I did the site was working better. It took me a total of about four hours to complete my enrollment, including comparing plans to find the best one for me.
There were plans on the Obamacare marketplace that cost even less than I paid, but as someone with a pre-existing condition I want as much of my care covered by my premium as possible. This plan covers about 80 percent of all my medical costs. In Michigan, plans start at $161 a month (there are even less expensive catastrophic coverage plans). There’s a plan and a price that’s right for everyone, and they all have to cover 10 essential health benefits that “junk” insurance plans being phased out under the Affordable Care Act don’t offer.
I could not be happier, both with my coverage and the help I got through’s live chat and phone representatives. I also got assistance from my new insurer when I called to check that my blood glucose test supplies would be covered. They will be, at an even better rate than they are now.
Everyone was well-informed and able to answer my questions promptly. When froze at the point where it should have confirmed my enrollment, a phone rep was able to verify on his end that my enrollment was completed and in their database. Plus, when I’d called the insurance company earlier, their rep had told me I could always call them directly and provide the name of the plan I wanted, and they’d take care of the application and enrollment process over the phone for the Obamacare marketplace plan I wanted.
Everything I needed was accessible from, including a brochure about my new plan and the phone number to contact the insurer. Which happens to be the same insurer I have now. But I never would have gotten a plan like this on my own without Obamacare.
If you’re still trying to enroll, keep trying back and use all the resources they offer. Be sure to consider not only premium costs, but co-pays, co-insurance and deductibles. Buying insurance through the Obamacare marketplace isn’t anything like buying insurance used to be. It’s better.
For me, and millions of other Americans, that’s a very, very good thing.
[CC image credit: Will O'Neill | Flickr.]

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