A Brief Aside: Health Insurance

So…Republicans are gearing up to kill the ACA.

Now, I’m a Democrat, but the ACA has been an unmitigated disaster for my own personal healthcare. Before the ACA, I had wonderful PPO insurance from the Freelancer’s Union. It was <$400 a month, had a minimal deductible, reasonable copays, and no coinsurance.

Contrast with my situation today: For $950/month, I get a $2000 deductible, copays have tripled and–wait for it–$30,000 in coinsurance. If I’m doing my math right, that means that a major medical issue would cost me $11,400 (monthly premium), $2000 (deductible), and up to $30,000 in coinsurance, for a grand total of $43,400. It’s almost like not being insured at all!

Plus, it’s HMO insurance, which means that I have to go through my primary care provider every time I need anything, leading to massive delays in getting specialty healthcare if I need it. For example, between appointment delays and insurance delays, it took me months and thousands of dollars in healthcare costs just to go see an orthopedic surgeon for a simple corticosteroid injection. I could also count the massive loss in productive work time due to these delays, but I don’t even know how to calculate that.

I’m self-employed, so my insurance options are extremely limited in New York state. The plan I have is the absolute best available to the self-employed here. There are only 3 insurance companies offering plans on the exchange, none with more than a 2 stars out of 5 rating.

So, I ask, why would I care if Republicans kill the ACA? It has had a direct, very negative impact on my personal healthcare. I’m totally willing to pay more in taxes to support social programs–but when it comes to what amounts to taking away any option for decent healthcare, at any price, I can’t support that. The entire process of getting my neck injury treated was absolute hell. Given that my insurance covers so little, economics dictate that I am better off without it and saving for the inevitable medical emergency. Of course, then I have to pay a tax penalty.

Kill it. Kill it with fire.

8 thoughts on “A Brief Aside: Health Insurance

  1. cbratina

    Insurance companies use their weight to negotiate very low prices from doctors and hospitals, so an individual or a small insurance company pays MUCH higher rates. Why not require hospitals and doctors to charge everyone the same fee? Why not require insurance companies charge individuals the same amount as they do big business? These two actions would do wonders for the rates paid by individuals and small companies, and thus increase the number of small businesses which generate the most employment growth. But we are still left with the problem of the high cost of uninsured and unpaid health care which drives up our costs. There are only two ways to deal with this, either require individuals to buy insurance or penalize them, or have the government pay for it.

    Reply
  2. AusTex

    Buying health insurance in this country is akin to buying a car, you do know you’re getting ripped off you just don’t know by how much. The issue is transparency which is why two people hardly every pay the same rate and why its almost impossible to judge a healthcare provider by their outcomes! As long as the system pays for procedures and not outcomes the patient will take a back seat to profit.

    Reply
  3. doug

    do you know that you don’t have to buy on the exchange? I have never bought a plan as terrible as the one you had. I think you just bought badly. I have had to give up the old plan as I moved out of the hudson valley, but really?

    Reply
  4. John Ferguson Post author

    You can certainly buy from an insurance agent, but all they are peddling are exchange plans. That is all that is available for self-employed people. Also there are no PPO plans anywhere to be found. Also Obamacare killed the great Freelancer’s Union insurance I had. All that is left is expensive garbage.

    Reply
  5. bgddyjim

    Funny thing is. Republicans said it would suck long before. That notwithstanding, a few years ago my wife and I had money to throw around. We bought bikes and went on vacations and we NEVER worried about health insurance. Fast forward three years and I’m barely making ends meet. My Healthcare doubled but I do have a bright side to look at: As long as I don’t need it, it works great. Kill it with fire is right.

    What always confused me is this: If Healthcare is so expensive, how is Healthcare, 20,000 pages of new costly regulations and a government bureaucracy to run it going to be cheaper?! I can’t wait till they take an axe to it.

    Reply
  6. Cliff Williams

    “Kill it,kill it with fire” I suspect someone reads Naked capitalism. That is of their fav. Statements

    Reply
  7. Roger

    When you ride a recumbent you will eventually fall on your hip and break it like so many former bent riders with hip implants, Your health insurance premium will drastically increase with hip replacement. You will never again have full range motion with the hip replacement. Very unfortunate you believe you will be safe on a recumbent. Does your wife and child know you plan to put your health at risk riding a hip breaker recumbent?

    Reply

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