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Finally! I bought health insurance through Obamacare

I made the December deadline to buy insurance that takes effect Jan. 1, and my new insurance reduced my monthly cost by 45 percent.

By MSN Money Partner Dec 24, 2013 1:49PM
This post comes from Karen Datko at partner site Money Talks News.

Money Talks News on MSN MoneyIt took a lot of persistence on my part, but I finally was able to buy insurance through the Obamacare online marketplace. After a disastrous rollout, it's working much better these days.

Surgeon with paperwork © Creatas Images, JupiterImages And even better, the new health plan I picked from the many options available is much more affordable than my current policy.

I made the Dec. 23 deadline for purchasing coverage that will begin on Jan. 1. Note: If you began the HealthCare.gov process on Dec. 23 but didn't successfully complete it, you have another day to finish the application and still have coverage on Jan. 1. (Open enrollment in the state online marketplaces ends March 31.)


Let's compare: My current policy, which expires on Dec. 31, has a $5,000 deductible and a $5,000 out-of-pocket maximum. For out of network, it's a $7,500 deductible and $10,000 out-of-pocket maximum. It costs about $830 a month.

My new plan, the lowest priced bronze plan available in Montana for someone my age who smokes, costs $464 a month for a $3,950 deductible and a $6,350 out-of-pocket maximum. The limits are higher for out-of-network care.

Under both plans, preventive care like mammograms and colonoscopies are fully covered by the insurance company, as required by Obamacare. And because of Obamacare, neither plan can deny coverage for pre-existing conditions, which used to be the norm for people who buy individual insurance.

Website glitches

Like many Americans, I had a really difficult time getting access to the online marketplace at HealthCare.gov after it opened Oct. 1. (My state Legislature made the unfortunate decision not to set up our state’s own marketplace. The process worked much better in the 14 states that have their own.)


I started an application, but it wouldn't save properly. And I was informed that my ID could only be verified by emailing a copy of my driver's license or other ID. I did that several times, but nothing happened after that.


Once it was announced that most of the bugs had been fixed, I killed my old application and started anew. It still wouldn't save properly, and a customer service rep completed the application for me over the phone.


I finally had access to the insurance plans offered in my state and I made a selection. Word to the wise: They're complicated, but if you need help, you can call the companies with questions. I did.


Rule changes

Since HealthCare.gov opened for business, some changes have been made to the deadlines and rules. One was designed to accommodate those whose individual plans are being canceled because those plans don't meet the Affordable Care Act's requirements for basic health services. Those people will be exempt from the mandate to have insurance in 2014. Says Bloomberg:

People whose plans are canceled must apply to the government for a hardship exemption from the requirement to carry insurance and submit the letter they received from their current insurer. Once the government approves the exemption, they are eligible to purchase catastrophic plans, which usually have the lowest premium of any coverage sold on exchanges. The plans aren't eligible for federal subsidies, meaning there's no discount for the premium.

I have to wonder: Why would people not want a better health care plan than the one they have now -- rather than a bare-bones catastrophic plan -- particularly when buying a better plan on the marketplace could make them eligible for a subsidy, depending on their income.


You're eligible if you earn between 138 percent and 400 percent of the poverty level. That's $15,850 to $46,000 for an individual, and $32,500 to $94,200 for a family of four.


You'd get better insurance and you'd get help in the form of a tax credit to reduce the premiums -- basically better insurance at a lower cost.


Majority of Americans aren't affected

Of course, much of this is of no importance to most Americans. The majority get health insurance through their workplace or through a government program like Medicare, so they wouldn't be using the marketplaces to buy individual insurance. Says the U.S. Census Bureau (.pdf file):

More than half of the U.S. population (55.1 percent) had employment-based health insurance coverage in 2011, and among the employed population aged 18 to 64, over two-thirds (68.2 percent) had health insur­ance through their own employer or another person's employer.1 In addition, over one-third (34.7 percent) of individuals who did not work received coverage through employment-based health insurance, usually from a former employer or another person's employer.

If you're uninsured or you don't get what's considered affordable insurance through work, go to HealthCare.gov or your state's own marketplace, if it has one. According to Reuters, more than 500,000 people have signed up to buy insurance through Obamacare since Oct. 1.


Have you tried to purchase health insurance on the marketplaces?


More on Money Talks News:

332Comments
Dec 26, 2013 2:10PM
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No matter how many articles are written supporting this piece of crap law, it will never be enough to keep it from failing.  It, much like obama's presidency, is nothing more than a catastrophic failure.  Americans everywhere are suffering the consequences.
Dec 25, 2013 10:39PM
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You don't get insurance at a lower cost.  Someone is paying your premium even if you aren't.  So your premium goes down while you are taking someone else's money to pay for your insurance.  How about you quit smoking and do the work of lowering your own premium?  Then put your hand in your own pocket instead of having your hand out and expecting others to foot the bill for your poor choices.
Dec 24, 2013 3:53PM
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Here's a bullsh*t (propaganda) article. Wonder how much money Karen was paid to write this garbage.

You know Obamacare is worthless, for no other reason than the way it's being pushed. Something this "fantastic" doesn't need so much media support. If it really was as great as the media sheep and the tools in DC are saying, then it would speak for itself... AND the politicians would not have exempted themselves from it.

Dec 24, 2013 4:38PM
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This article seems to leave out significant information. What preexisting conditions and lifestyle issues let the author to need to pay  10K per year for a 5000 out of pocket plan? Her insurance now costs her 5600 per year for a 6350 out of pocket plan, a savings of 3100 per year if she stays in network. Presumably the out of network costs are much higher since she does not disclose them  and there is no assertion that the networks are comparable. She may have worse choice of providers and not let us know. Since she chose the cheapest plan this is likely. I agree with clone that this appears to be either a very poorly written piece or propaganda. Additionally she mentions the federal contribution to premiums but never tells us if her cost is reduced to 464 per month in part by these payments. If that is the case she may be saving but is coming out of the pockets of all the taxpayers who will need to make up the shortfalls in the cash flow of Obamacare.
Dec 26, 2013 1:53PM
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How many people did they need to talk to in order to find ONE Obamacare success story?
Dec 24, 2013 8:56PM
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I looked for the described plan but not knowing the author's age and other personal information, I didn't find it.  Did find some Bronze plans with the same deductible and out-of pocket maximums.  Each of them have significant coinsurance after deductible for doctors, facility, emergency room, prescriptions, that will make it very likely the policy holder will reach the max out of pocket and pay up to $11,918 per year; more if she goes out of network.

I don't doubt the ACA plan is cheaper;  did she get a subsidy on premiums and/or cost shares:  Did the old plan have similar coinsurance after deductible costs.  Without more detail, the article is nearly useless.
Dec 26, 2013 1:55PM
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Well, good for the one person that obamacare worked for ..........what about the rest of us who have had our health insurance coverage increase dramatically in costs - premiums & deductibles???  Where are our stories about this disaster??
Dec 25, 2013 1:32PM
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obamacare what a joke working man paying more for nothing
Dec 26, 2013 9:23AM
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As Always the devil is in the details.  She probably has pre-existing conditions, which is like writing a fire insurance policy on a BURNING building.  It will only result is a loss for an insurance company.  She probably is well over 45 as well.


Of course Obamacare will acquire patients like her.  The Insurance company is guaranteed to loose money on her.   Her policy will be subsidized on the backs of younger people who will pay double to triple what they could buy now.


The fact remains, the youth of this nation will never voluntarily offer to pay 2-3 times what they should to pay for this parasite.  I use the term parasite, because she is happy to have someone else PAY HER WAY.   She sounds like the very definition of leech democrat.

Dec 26, 2013 12:38AM
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Whoever you are please state your name, age and how much you earn a year! Good to know you can afford to pay $464 a month with about $4,000 deductible. Wow!
Dec 25, 2013 12:33PM
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Hawaii's exchange are having glitch problems and crashing. Ironically, Obama just happens to be vacationing in paradise. Maybe he can help with the applications by hand and forgo golfing, priorities you know...
Dec 26, 2013 2:18PM
Dec 26, 2013 1:56PM
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Obamacare is going to fold like a cheap umbrella. There is no way it will work as planned without massive cash infusions. To those who have a job and pay taxes..........bend over. It's coming.
Dec 24, 2013 3:11PM
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No, the state run exchanges did not all work better than the Fed one. The last report I saw was that the Oregon exchange had yet to enroll anyone on line and  that Maryland's was just as bad. There have been 4 heads of state run exchanges that have had to resign because of the lousy operation of their websites.
Dec 25, 2013 12:28PM
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"Have you tried to purchase health insurance on the marketplaces? "

 

Thanks to Obamacare's requirements, the market place insurance rates are much higher than before. A part of the requirement are insurers must provide maternity care and prostate exams for everyone whether man or woman which raises the cost. How stupid can that be?

 

Also, the Obamacare websites were supposed to provide gateways to choices of outside market insurance but those portals don't work channeling people to the Obamacare site only. Suspicious as hell I think.

Dec 26, 2013 2:11PM
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This woman is dumber than dirt, and so is her article.
Dec 26, 2013 2:20PM
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Wow, 1st successful story in the 2 months since it opened.. Lets put the successful STORY side by side with the unsuccessful STORIES.. and compare them.. I would post them but don't have a week to post all the negatives against the 1 positive...
Dec 26, 2013 2:00PM
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Another issue not talked about with Obamacare is that now, you may not be able to choose the hospital.
Dec 26, 2013 2:18PM
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He$$ one out of 2 million ain't bad......assuming this is even a real person....
Dec 25, 2013 11:45PM
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I heard that under the ACA anyone who buys insurance through the exchange can't go to the top 4 hospitals in Atlanta. I guess they really probably could if they paid for it entirely themselves. I wonder if this plan severely restricts this woman's choices of doctors and hospitals too. I doubt there are many big hospitals or specialists in Montana. If she comes down with some serious, hard to treat problem and has to go elsewhere for treatment she's going to be in deep financial doo-doo. And, the ACA is discrimination against young males since they are being charged the same premiums as others who are using much more services.
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