Thursday, October 31, 2013

Sticker Shock


Yesterday’s post about my personal introduction to Obamacare lacked only one thing. Since I have been unable to penetrate the gauntlet of fire breathing dragons that protect Healthcare.gov, I have only been able to fret over what the cost might be. I said yesterday that my “trick knee” was telling me that I was about to be paying a lot more for my health insurance. Now, the truth can be revealed. Always trust your trick knee.

A friend of mine and colleague, Blair, happens to be a broker with Anthem, and as such has what amounts to a back stage pass to the troubled web site.(How come it’s always the beautiful blondes that wind up with back stage passes?) Anyhow, she was kind enough to print out all of my Obamacare options for me. Eight pages long, and 22 different options thick, I was greeted with a dizzying array of precious metal choices, bronze, silver and gold. I can only assume that the platinum and titanium levels are restricted to politicians and their families.

Ok, my present coverage with Anthem carries with it a $3500 deductable and a $5000 family out of pocket per year, which means that I have to rack up over 5 grand in medical expenses every year before my policy will pay anything. For this catastrophic coverage I pay $610 per month. So, the first thing I did when presented with my eight page printout was to find which plan was the closest to what I already have. It turned out to be something called the “Anthem HealthKeepers Preferred Direct Access HMO GOLD plan. Only, this plan carries a $7000 family out of pocket. Wait, I thought that one of the objectives of Obamacare was to give people better, more comprehensive protection. But, the richest plan offered to me will require me to pay MORE out of pocket, not less. Hmmm. Now for the fun part. What will my premium be for this inferior policy? Instead of $610 per month, it will be my new privilege to fork over $1384.15 per month, a 127% increase. The good news, I’ll have “wellness care.”

No reason to panic, I thought. After all, that was the Cadillac gold plan. Suppose I buy the bare bones bronze plan? Turns out that going back to the Bronze Age would force me to accept a $12,700 yearly out of pocket expense, and my premium would still be higher than I currently pay, $770.77 per month compared to $610.

So, it would seem that under Obamacare I will have to accept much higher out of pocket expenses and ridiculously higher premiums, a twofer!

When I consider the fact that this bill was conceived and designed by politicians, I am reminded of that old line about the camel and the racehorse. “A camel is a racehorse designed by a committee of politicians.”