Conflicted

I’m conflicted and I have anger that I’m trying to work out. Yes, this is about health care. I’m not looking to make anyone mad, I’m just venting my frustrations and fears.

This whole health-care issue and the changes that it’s created for myself and my family. While I am SO glad that uninsured people can now have the insurance “safety net”, I’m completely and utterly infuriated at what it’s done to my family. At present, we have great health insurance. It was one of the main reasons why my husband was so happy to get the job that he did, and he works his butt off each and every day for it. It used to be one of those things where even when you were frustrated with your job, you knew you needed to be grateful for it because you just couldn’t beat the benefits for working for that company. Now, because of the changes in the healthcare system and the mandates placed by the PPACA (Obamacare for those of you who prefer that term), we will no longer have the same great insurance we had before, but rather a high-deductible, higher-copay plan. We are scared to death of how these changes will impact us financially. I have been the one to pay the medical bills in the family… mostly because I’m the one who incurs the most…and this change? I’m not going to be able to do it. I have made the same amount of money each year for the past 5 years – in the “teen”-thousand range per year – and I’m doing what I can to make sure bills are paid as it is. So, yes, while I’m so very happy that others will have access to health insurance – like my dad and my brother who are uninsured and my dad can’t get insurance because of prior conditions, I’m angry at Obamacare for not allowing me to “keep the insurance {I} have” as was promised. I’m freaking out about how I’m going to pay for my supplies next year until my high deductible is met. I’ve carefully added and planned out how long my current supplies will last, so that I’ll have time to save for next year. I’ve gone through and tried to figure out what supplies are needed, and what I can change to get at a lower cost option until I meet that deductible… and praying that companies will be able to work with me on a payment plan for my supplies until that deductible is met.

I don’t believe that the entire idea of the PPACA should be repealed, but I do wish they could have done something different to let us keep exactly what we have.

11 thoughts on “Conflicted”

  1. Thanks for your post, Sarah. I’m curious: So, has his employer specifically said they aren’t keeping the same insurance as a result of the health care reform? Why have they decided to do that, if so? I’ve heard many people worried about this, but not actually heard any stories of employers that are actually dropping insurance as a result. I do know some that have dropped it in the past year, not because of the reforms but simply because premiums were way too high (as they would’ve been whether the reforms passed or not) and it was cheaper for them to drop insurance coverage.

    1. They had to change our plan – we’re with the same company – so that the total cost per employee does not exceed the cost guideline set in the new PPACA. And yes, this change is specifically due to the health care reform.

  2. Your post frightens me, because it sounds like your husband’s company is being {edited} and you (or possibly they) are blaming that on the new healthcare bill. There is nothing in Obamacare that mandates reducing your current healthcare (that would be completely unproductive towards keeping citizens healthy). The only possible reason the company has for claiming you need to spend more now is because they might incur higher costs being forced to give healthcare to people that they weren’t covering at the moment. This is them making sure they don’t have to spend more by pushing the cost onto you, but in the end this is entirely the decision of the company (and something they may have been planning anyway because it’s always been an option for them) and doesn’t have to do with Obamacare.

    Obamacare doesn’t do as much as I wish it would, there are so many things it could have been stronger on to really help people with chronic conditions out (I’m a type 1 also so I know where you’re coming from). But I really worry when people end up being misinformed and spreading that around because that’s what people who want to repeal it are going to use to get others behind them. The new health care laws are a step, even if it’s small, in the right direction and I really don’t want to move backwards again. http://www.healthcare.gov/law/index.html gives accurate information on what the laws are actually going to do, if anyone is interested.

    1. As I replied to Mike, they had to change (which resulted in reducing) our coverage to fit into the new guidelines for how much total cost the healthcare plan can be per individual or family. And, while I do agree with you that it’s good that people with chronic conditions without insurance will benefit, this is a change brought on by the new Obamacare laws. I am an insurance agent. I have studied the new law for my CE hours and I knew that our coverage had to change to fit these guidelines, but I didn’t expect it to change this much. There are hundreds of others whose insurance has had to change and had to result in reduced coverage/higher out-of-pocket burden than before just to fit into the new standard. This is not misinformation – it’s the truth of what has happened to us. I’m sorry if you don’t believe me.

      1. I’m really sorry, I totally didn’t mean to upset you (which I think I did).
        The reason for my initial comment was that when I saw your post I my first thought was “Oh my gosh, did I miss something, is everyone suddenly going to have huge increases in cost for health insurance?”. So I went looking for information about mandating reduced health care benefits for people, and I couldn’t (and still can’t) find anything. I had no idea you are an insurance agent, and I’ve talked to so many people recently who have made various claims about what the health care reforms is going to do to them. I felt like I really needed to say something (there weren’t any comments when I began typing mine) because there are differences between “some change my company made to my health insurance is going to cause big problems for me” and “the new law is forcing a change which is resulting in big problems for me”. I wrongly assumed you meant the first statement but conveyed the second. I’m very sorry about that, I should have asked first! And regardless of which statement you meant I didn’t intend to belittle your experience, reduced coverage and higher costs is horrible and I hope that everything works out for you and your family.
        Could you point me to the guidelines you’re talking about here? I’m trying to understand everything I can about the new health care reforms because anything involving change and health care freaks me out.
        Thank you, and again I’m sorry for any hurt my initial comment caused or misinformation I put out.

        1. “Excise Tax on Comprehensive Health Insurance Plans ($32 bil/Jan 2018): Starting in 2018, new 40 percent excise tax on “Cadillac” health insurance plans ($10,200 single/$27,500 family). Higher threshold ($11,500 single/$29,450 family) for early retirees and high-risk professions. CPI +1 percentage point indexed. Bill: PPACA; Page: 1,941-1,956” http://www.examiner.com/article/the-truth-about-obamacare-and-your-taxes

          This is why – Our plan was one of these, and though we are not in 2018, our single/family cost per year was close to the threshold for 2018, so the plan was implemented now to account for the increase in cost of health insurance inflation by then, and allow room for “as-needed adjustments” in the years until then.

          And I’m not mad or hurt by what you said at all, but I do want people to know that this “law” did cause a change that our company otherwise would not have made. They have always taken care of their employees’ health and provided excellent benefits to them, as they believe it is a employee right. They simply cannot pay the tax, so they changed our insurance plan.

  3. I’ve been worried about that practical impact, too… Difference between “technically it doesn’t require that and so it’s not mandated,” versus the practicality that many employers need or want to make these changes in order to comply. I’ve seen some examples where companies don’t have to go this route – there are other options. And there are many companies/insurance company reps who are specifically blaming changes/cost differences on the reforms when that’s certainly not the case. But you’re right to be worried, as we all are when govt gets involved in anything. At the end of the day, the good outweighs the bad in my opinion. But I totally respect those who disagree, and it freaks the eff out of me that this is hurting my friends (or really, anyone). I hope some options surface, Sarah. Not easy stuff, at all. Best your way.

  4. I am a single parent of a girl with t1d and my insurance premiums and co-pays just went up. I’m not really complaining, but certainly would have liked to have not had these changes. I work at a homeless shelter for families (must have kids to stay here) so I can see where the good for others outweighs the bad for me, but I feel your frustrations.

  5. As you know, I just tried to get the updated Dexcom through my insurance plan. I am out of warranty so my insurance “does” cover it. Yes, I am “saving” $50 from the full cash price. I am so glad I have insurance.

    … or maybe just having coverage doesn’t actually solve all the health care issues in this country.

  6. Hmmm … the excise tax doesn’t take effect until 2018. I can see where the company would say, they are moving to the higher co-pay and deductible plan to “prepare” and so employees wouldn’t be “shocked” by a change in 2018, but still … could their explanation have any between the lines interpretation?

    FWIW, my own health plan has seen co-pay and deductible increases (or coverage decreases) every year for over 20 years.

    A couple of other points. There is a provision in the ACA that says if the health insurance plan for Congress and Federal employees increases by 55% between the start of the act and 2018, then the threshold for taxing “Cadillac” plans increases as well. After some recent reading on how healthcare is likely to keep growing at a higher rate than inflation, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the threshold increased to better meet “reality”. Also keep in mind the 40% tax is on the amount ABOVE the threshold. Therefore, if a family plan is $28,500 and the threshold is $27,500, the tax would be 40% of $1000, or $400.

    On the flip side, certain plans in certain states are likely to see some pretty significant taxation amounts by the time 2018 rolls around. UGH!

Tell me what you think!