The so-called Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) started with a noble idea –provide health insurance for those unable to afford it and make it more affordable for everybody. We were also told that Americans could keep their doctors.
Unfortunately, it was a lie! While Obamacare has provided subsidies to make insurance available to the poor, the cost of individual policies for the rest of us — the ones who are paying the subsidies — have skyrocketed. And,
No Virginia, you do not get to keep your doctor!
Let me share my situation as an example of why Obamacare is a disaster. For the last couple of years, like most Americans, I have purchased health insurance for my family through my employer. In September, the contract I was working on was completed and after 30 days on the bench, I was laid off. I immediately reached out to my industry contacts and started accepting IT training gigs as an independent contractor. I was getting my health insurance from my previous employer through a COBRA plan. I applied for full-time jobs but I was getting lots of training work so I decided to be self-employed. I have been self-employed before so I knew how to do it and knew I could make a living at it.
In January, I had to shop for health insurance plans. So I went to the Obamacare exchange for Iowa. I was looking for a plan to cover myself, my wife, my college age son and two daughters in High school. Ultimately, I had to select two different plans because of different doctors we saw and medications needed by various family members.
As an independent trainer and consultant I am able to keep busy and make a good living with a comfortable 6-figure salary. Some of you reading this may be asking, “Then what do you have to complain about?”
The problem is not my income it is how much I have to pay for health insurance.
In 2017, I will pay around $25,000 in health insurance premiums and approximately $15,000 in deductibles!
When you take $40,000 off the top, that salary is not nearly as impressive. So, being self-employed I have to make $40,000 up front for medical before I can even worry about other little things like, mortgage, food, clothing, school expenses, car insurance, etc. In addition, being self-employed, I also have to pay about an extra 7% of my income in ‘self-employment’ taxes. Even though the Obamacare plans are high-deductible they do not qualify for Health Saving Accounts, so I can’t even pay the deductibles with pre-tax dollars.
Because of some chronic illnesses, between medications and doctor visits, we meet our deductibles early every year. Another problem with Obamacare is that there is no incentive for me, or anyone, to be concerned about cost. In fact income ways it is better to pay a lot and meet our deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums early since insurance covers the rest.
So, I am mad at Democrats for creating Obamacare. I am even more mad at Republicans for passing numerous repeal bills when they knew they would be vetoed, then when we have a Republican president failing to get rid of Obamacare.
Then, the two largest insurers in the Iowa Exchange, Wellmark Blue Cross & Blue Shield and Aetna announced that they will not be offering individual plans in 2018. That leaves only one small insurer who has not yet committed to offering 2018 individual plans in Iowa. I am not sure what will happen next year but if I can even buy health insurance it will likely be much more expensive.
At the end of the day, because of Obamacare, my working as an independent trainer/consultant is just not sustainable. I guess I will just have to look for a grown up job 🙁