- Health Care, Drugs & Insurance
Obamacare vs Private Sector Health Care
Obamacare is it Really Better Than Private Health Insurance?
When Obamacare was first mentioned during the inception of the Obama Administration, I found it to be a novel idea. At first, I was all for it and truth is I still believe we should all be insured specially with the continuous rise in health care costs (hospital care, surgeries, prescription drugs, etc), but I can't help to think that there could be a better way.
Here is my story: I have been self employed for about 10 years. Prior to Obamacare I used to have PPO Blue Cross insurance where I paid a bit over $300/month and it included dental with a $2,000 deductible. Obviously preventive care was fully covered. One year, they had found lumps in my breast and I had to get a mammogram and an ultrasound done. Luckily all was fine, tests results showed my cysts were benign but of course I had to pay for both of those tests out of pocket due to the $2,000 deductible. I remember being so annoyed over the high deductible and of course when Obamacare came around I thought those issues would be resolved. Boy was I naive.
Fast forward a year later, I joined a union through one of my freelance jobs and was able to obtain an amazing insurance. Once again it was Blue Cross; PPO with deductibles of $500 and it included dental and vision. I was paying it quarterly with very low premiums. Unfortunately last year, I started selling a building and this sales job was a conflict with my freelance job, therefore I was unable to make the annual income needed to be eligible for the health insurance through the union. I lost my insurance for this year. This past November, I tried to sign up for Obamacare by calling a phone number listed on one of the millions of websites that sell the insurance. I was immediately told, by a really nice lady, that there was no need to shop around any further as she would give me the lowest price available on the market. She asked me for my annual income, and informed me that the insurance premiums are based on your income, and I think also your zip code because she asked me for that as well. She quoted me a price of close to $400/month with deductibles of $6,800. I nearly fell off my chair. I have never in my life heard of such a high deductible. Here is why that number worried me. I knew of a girl (prior to Obamacare) that did not have insurance and got food poisoning. It was so bad that she actually had to go into the hospital to get an ivy with fluids to hydrate her. That little stunt cost her over $10,000. She was freaking out because she barely made $30,000/year and had debt up to her ears and now she had a $10,000 medical bill. And do you know how easy it is to get food poisoning? It is pretty easy. So if I get food poisoning with Obamacare insurance I would basically be paying the entire food poisoning bill of $10,000... well actually more $11,600 ($400 x 12= 4,800 premiums for the year + 6,800 deductible).
A few days later, I called another insurance company to see if I could get a different quote. Unfortunately I got exactly the same quote. Isn't it illegal in our country to fix prices? If the private sector can't do it, why are we letting the government get away with it? How is this better for the consumer? I was better off before Obamacare went into effect. I was only paying a bit over $300 and had a PPO that included dental. Now I get offered an HMO where I would always have to go to a primary doctor before going to my gynecologist, so there is also the cost of time to consider and no more dental. Needless to say I had to go back to my union and do the self pay which means I have to pay my own premiums (cobra), which are higher than the HMO but at least my deductibles are only $500. If I get sick or break an arm, then I am better off with cobra.
I am not sure how much one needs to make in income annually to get Obamacare insurance for under $200/month, but what ever that annual income is, then make that the maximum one must make to be able eligible for "the affordable" health insurance. For the rest of us, leave it how it used to be... "open market" where companies have to compete to keep to customer. Competition leads to lower prices and to products that are truly better for the consumer.