President Barack Obama’s ObamaMart—that HealthCare.gov contraption—is up and running, or so Obama and his chief shill, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, claim (even though some very serious—dangerous—warts remain). I decided to try it out and see what the Obamacare law itself would offer me in terms of plans that are cheaper and better than the ones I have through my wife’s employer (which, knock wood, still are legal…so far).
Aside from the dental plans still being required to offer newborn and maternity care coverage (scroll the top window to the second image), here’s what I found without having to give up “my information,” from a not particularly random walk through the ObamaMart erected here in Texas. I looked for plans available for my spouse and me, ages 62 and 60. For a baseline, my existing health plan, available through my wife’s employer, charges a $1,700/year premium, has a $3,000 deductible, covers 80% of our medical costs after the deductible, and it’s so far still legal. We have this High Deductible plan because it’s required in order to have an HSA.
The first plan in the list that comes up in ObamaMart is Blue Cross Blue Shield’s Bronze “Blue Advantage Bronze HMO 006” plan. This plan comes with a $9,800/year premium and a $12,700 deductible. Bronze plans only cover 60% of post-deductible costs, though, so we’d be paying $22,500/year just to get to the point of BCBS picking up the next 60% of our expenses. For that year. Next year would be a whole new $22,500 before coverage began. The financially astute will note that those annual costs approach the annual limit on a 401(k) contribution for my age cohort. Hmm….
And what coverage do I get for that princely sum—besides “free” contraceptives, prenatal, newborn, and maternity care for us empty-nesters, I mean? The DETAILS button does not have the answer. Or even any details. I get no information on what’s actually covered. The Summary of Benefits and Plan Brochure links on the popup that appears under the DETAILS button just take me to PDF files that assure me that if we go outside the BCBS network, our coverage is zilch. In truth, before Obamacare we had to talk to an insurance salesman to see a policy. But I thought Obamacare was supposed to be better, as well as…cheaper….
It takes a Gold Plan to give us the 80% post-deductible coverage that our present plan has, though, so that’s the next look. The top of the list here is BCBS’ “Blue Advantage Gold HMO 001” plan. This one wants a $17,000/year premium, but it only charges a $9,750 deductible to make up for it, for a total annual cost of $26,750/year before coverage actually kicks in. If I thought I could afford any part of a 401(k) under the Bronze plan, this Gold cost disabuses me of that foolishness. The Gold’s DETAILS button is just as vague and useless as the Bronze’s, too.
Yeah, I’m better off, now that ObamaMart has been “fixed.”