As the Health Insurance Marketplace creeps toward being fully operational and the Obamacare-haters use the technical problems to continue their attacks, the good news is starting to get out.
Over 330,000 Americans have checked to see if they are eligible for a federal subsidy to make their health insurance more affordable. About 700,000 applications for health insurance have been made through the states and federal Marketplaces.
Then there are the personal stories of happy Marketplace shoppers. Below are examples of Americans who have had great results. Thanks to the Franklin Forum for this information.
Three Hours Saved Man $6,000 – Andrew, Freelancer, 34 yrs old
It took three hours, but Andrew Stryker managed to be among the first people to purchase health insurance through Obamacare’s new insurance markets. Stryker is 34 years old and lives in Los Angeles, where he now does freelance work. He pays a monthly premium around $600 to stay on the COBRA plan from a job he left four years ago. He has high blood pressure and says insurance companies have previously denied his applications for coverage on the individual market. ‘I figured this might cut my premiums in half and I’d be getting better service for half the price,’ he says. … ‘I’ve been watching the news about the government shutdown,” he says. “Obviously three hours is a long time to wait, but it will save me over $6,000. For that, I would have waited all day.’” [Washington Post’s Wonkblog, 10/1/13]
Formerly Uninsured Woman Found $60 Plan
“In Mississippi, one of 34 states letting the federal government operate the online health insurance marketplace created by the health law, consumers continue to face long delays and other technical difficulties as they try to log on and shop for affordable coverage. Sixteen other states and the District of Columbia are operating their own marketplaces. ‘Why keep trying?’ asked Meredith Stark, 29, a hotel desk clerk in the northeast Mississippi town of Blue Springs. ‘Because this is something we need. We have a right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. And, I am sorry, but not having health insurance denies life.’ Stark says she has a chronic blood condition and had been skipping medication for three years while uninsured because of its cost. The marketplace, also known as an exchange, will offer plans based on four categories — gold, silver, bronze and platinum — with varying deductible costs, copayments and other consumer cost sharing. But the combination of heavy traffic – federal officials reports hits in the millions — and programming problems has made the web site difficult to access since its Oct. 1 launch. After a week of trying, though, Stark managed to complete the online process and enroll her husband and herself in a plan that will cost $60 a month.” [Kaiser Health News, 10/11/13]
Better Coverage For At Least $13,000 Less – Butch Matthews, small business owner, 61 yrs old
Butch Matthews is a 61-year-old former small business owner from Little Rock, Arkansas who used to wake up every morning at 4 A.M. to deliver canned beverages to retailers before retiring in 2010. A lifelong Republican, he was heavily skeptical of the Affordable Care Act when it first passed. ‘I did not think that Obamacare was going to be a good plan, I did not think that it was going to help me at all,’ he told Think Progress over the phone. But after doing a little research, Matthews eventually realized how much the law could help him. And on Tuesday, his local Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) provider confirmed that he would be able to buy a far better plan than his current policy while saving at least $13,000 per year through Arkansas’ Obamacare marketplace… I still am a very strong Republican, but this… I’m so happy that this came along,” he continued. “Our home is paid for, vehicle’s paid for, this is our expense that we have. We have more expense on medical care than everything else put together, so this is going to be a great help for us.'” [ThinkProgress, 10/21/13]
Indiana Catholic Couple Can Now Afford to Have a Second Child– Steven, Freelancer, 39 yrs old
“Our story isn’t terribly exotic, but it’s ours. My wife and I (42 and 39) are both freelancers working at home, which means—among other things—we’ve been blessed with being able to raise our 7-year-old child without outside child care. Although solidly middle class by dollars, we don’t earn health care through our employment, which means a large chunk of our money ($600 per month) goes toward health insurance, despite being mostly healthy nonsmokers. We’re most interested in the provision of the ACA that requires insurers to cover maternity. It’s nearly impossible for single buyers to purchase in our home state of Indiana: one-year waiting period, an extra $10,000 in annual premiums. Basically, you’re prepaying for a standard delivery. Because of the lack of coverage—and earnings that have kept us from being certain of Medicaid benefits—we’ve limited ourselves to one child (which has been tricky, since we’re practicing Catholics). We hope for coverage that’s either better or cheaper than what we have now—and preferably both!” [Slate, 10/2013]
Colorado Republican Expects “Substantial Savings” – Eric Powell, Small-business owner, 32 yrs
“I grew up a staunch Republican, voted for Bush twice, but the combination of Sarah Palin and the baffling Republican response to Obamacare has caused me to have a major identity crisis in my political beliefs… I grew up in House Speaker John Boehner’s district, and we’re longtime family friends. My grandpa held the same congressional seat, my dad was a township trustee with him when they both were starting out, and I went to school with his kids. I’ve honestly never disagreed with any significant Republican positions until this one, but I voted for Obama in 2012—the only Democratic vote I’ve ever made…I spent an hour or so Tuesday morning browsing plans at the Colorado insurance exchange. My goal was to find coverage for myself and my two children for less cost than we’d incur through my wife’s employer. My children are currently on my wife’s employer-based plan, and my coverage is through the state’s soon-ending high-risk pool. While my wife’s employer coverage is inexpensive for herself, covering our entire family would cost us an additional $1,000 per month out-of-pocket (for a less-than-ideal $3,500 deductible plan)…. Browsing and filtering plans is fairly straightforward, and I was impressed by the number of options. For myself and my two children, I was shown a total of 78 plan options from about 10 different carriers. The plans ranged from $357 to $1,024 per month (some including dental coverage), and it was pretty clear that we’d find substantial savings compared to insuring our entire family through my wife’s employer.” [Slate, 10/2013]
Illinois Couple Kept Coverage, Saved $390 – Kathy Kanak, 57 Year Old
“Kathy Kanak beat the system. Late Wednesday, the 57-year-old, of Libertyville, became one of the first known enrollees for health insurance at the glitch-stricken online marketplaces operated by the federal government for 36 states, including Illinois. … ‘I just kept trying,’ she said. ‘Tell people to just keep trying and (they’ll) get in eventually.’ With federal tax credits, the Kanaks will pay about $260 a month in 2014 on premiums for medical coverage with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois and dental insurance through Delta Dental, a savings of about $390 a month from their current coverage. They’ll be able to retain their family doctor and their dentist, and their annual deductible will drop to $1,500, from $5,000 this year.” [Chicago Tribune, 10/04/2013]