A bit ago I wrote about a…fix…to Healthcare.gov that purported to let me browse Obamacare “insurance” policies before creating an account and giving up all those personal data first. The new button that was supposed to let me do that didn’t entirely work.
Today (27 Oct) I tried the button again, and I can report “progress.” Now, after clicking the SEE PLANS NOW button, I’m invited to answer a few reasonable questions—do I want personal or employee coverage, health or dental, that sort of thing—I’m taken to a page where two things immediately become apparent—and from them that Obamacare and Obamacare’s software remain abject failures.
All plans must cover maternity and newborn care, for instance—whether I need that or not. As a 62-yr-old man married to a 60-yr-old woman whose tubes have been tied for 35 years, we don’t want this coverage, and we’re unlikely to need it. Yet we have to pay for it.
Other victims customers of this program might, or might not, want all of these other items, or subsets of them, but that’s not up to them. So much for choice.
And there’s this note, right there on the first page that actually starts talking about policies, and it’s repeated on every subsequent page:
Yep, the following pages still won’t give me the real premiums for the policies, only notional ones, nor will they tell me the subsidy and tax credit values available based on income ranges, which would be a simple table to set up and present. The IRS, which is handling much of the information for this program, is fully checked out on presenting this sort of table in its publications and instructions; see irs.gov.
Healthcare.gov does offer to shunt me off to the Kaiser Family Foundation for “calculated” estimates, though….
But wait! There’s more!
I get five categories of policies from which to choose. In case that blue field is hard to read, here they are in table form (which I created all by myself…):
Amount of Coverage
|Catastrophic||Less than 60% of the total average cost of care|
|Bronze||60% of the total average cost of care|
|Silver||70% of the total average cost of care|
|Gold||80% of the total average cost of care|
|Platinum||90% of the total average cost of care|
Two things are of interest here. One is that catastrophic “coverage” Obamacare policy. How am I covering a medical catastrophe if I’m still expected to pay for nearly half of it? What am I getting for my premiums (more on that in a bit)? I want catastrophic coverage because I’m reasonably healthy, I’ll take care of the routine stuff (those preventive care thingies for which I’m required to pay whether I want the coverage or not), but I anticipate needing help for the disasters.
Four years ago, I had a minor medical emergency, a heart attack that necessitated two visits to the hospital, including one over-nighter (I was released at the end of the day on the first visit). The hospital bill alone for that was in the neighborhood of $7,000. Imagine if that had been a serious heart event, or some other body failure, or a serious injury, that necessitated several days or a couple of weeks in the hospital. Add in the doctor’s and lab fees associated with such a stay.
How is a family on the lower end of the economic scale, or a family on a fixed income, supposed to cover 40% or more of that out of their personal resources? What are their, even subsidized (and the rest of us through those subsidies), premiums buying?
Now look at those Bronze “plans.” These were designed explicitly for people on the lower end of the economic scale or on a fixed income. Leaving subsidized premiums aside, where are they to get the scratch to cover the rest of the 40%?
This is crap. This is government-run health insurance welfare, and not a free market.
Moving on…. On clicking NEXT on the page summarizing my coverage categories, I’m taken (after a refreshingly brief pause) to a page that lists the “policies” available to me, together with the notional monthly premiums for my demographic (those questions I answered at the top). I’m offered 38 different “policies” available for my county in Texas, but they’re from only three players in this Exchange.
There are two catastrophic plans available to me, but no Platinum. Imagine that. I’m not good enough, under Obamacare to have a Platinum. Or the insurance companies can’t afford to offer me one under Obamacare’s terms in this county. Withal, for a mere $5,700 per year, I can buy the privilege of paying 40% or more of my catastrophe.
There are 11 Gold plans available to me; based on per centage of total coverage (which is all I have to go on; I’m still blocked from perusing an actual policy), these are the ones closest to the plan I have now, courtesy of my wife’s employer. The cheapest of these will cost me nearly $7,800 per year. The plan provided by my wife’s employer costs me all of $1,700. Fortunately, this year, I’m able to keep this plan. What about those who are not?
To see the plans, maybe, I still have to create that account.
I have to give my personal data to the door greeter at Walmart as a precondition to going in and poking the shelves? Really!?
I say again: this is crap. The software is crap, and Obamacare itself, with its enormously expensive “plans,” is crap.