The Affordable Health Care Act has been widely promoted by the Obama Administration as a means of addressing the Health Care crisis in the USA. It was passed in 2010 amid great protest across the nation. It was only passed because the Democrat party held a majority in both houses of Congress at the time. The Republicans now hold the majority in the House of Representatives, and have been roundly blamed in the press for forcing a government shutdown in a vain attempt to cancel the new health care plan.
Since I have many international friends, some of whom have asked me what Americans think of the Obama administration and of the health care proposal I thought I would share a little bit of my story.
I am self-employed with a young family. I have always arranged my own medical insurance. For the last ten years I have been insured through Anthem Blue Cross in Virginia. During the last year my policy premium for a family of two adults and three children has been an affordable payment per month of several hundred dollars for a policy that carries a $1,500 deductible per individual (meaning, for non-American readers, that we have to pay the first $1,500 of medical expenses per individual before the insurance begins to cover part of the cost) and a maximum family out-of-pocket expense of $10,000 for a year. My current policy will expire on February 1st, 2014. During the past summer I received a letter from Anthem telling me that when my existing policy expired I would not be able to renew it. I would however be able to find out what the company’s new policy offerings would be after October 1st when the new national health care exchange system went live.
Wanting to take learn about the new healthcare system I registered for an account at http://www.healthcare.gov on August 6th to be prepared for October 1st. To date, I have not been able to log in to the system, and have begun to collect a record of all my interactions with the help desk.
On October 1st Anthem began making available on their website the details of their offerings for health insurance for 2014. Having talked with an agent, who was far more helpful than anyone I have either texted with or talked with at healthcare.gov, I learned that the new policy most comparable to my current one ($1,500 individual deductible, $11,000 max out of pocket) will cost me well over a thousand dollars per month. The new premium represents a 214% increase over 2013! I also note from the Anthem policy quote that the premium includes both a fee toward the cost of the health exchange and an excise duty levied on the insurance companies.
I looked back through my financial records and learned that the cost of this policy alone is 25% more than the total I have spent on health care for my family (policy premium and out-of-pocket combined) than the most expensive healthcare year I experienced in the past ten years. It represents an increase in healthcare cost of 94% over my average annual healthcare expenditure for the past ten years.
The Affordable Health Care Act was promoted as an opportunity for all Americans to obtain affordable health care (whatever that means). The White House currently carries the following statement on its website at: http://www.whitehouse.gov/economy/middle-class/making-health-care-more-affordable
“The Affordable Care Act, passed by Congress and signed into law by President Obama in March 2010, gives middle class families better health security by putting in place comprehensive health insurance reforms that will hold insurance companies accountable, lower health care costs, guarantee more choice, and enhance the quality of care for all Americans”.
At the present time I don’t feel that I have more choice. The evidence above attests to the fact that my healthcare will NOT BE MORE AFFORDABLE.
To be continued …