Wouldn’t it be great to have unlimited hours and days to manage your family’s medical insurance? Apparently, that is what is required under the new medical insurance regime.
Straight story: My wife is a home health care nurse. Her employer is a giant in the home health care business. In addition to her paycheck, she had good health care insurance paid mostly by the company.
With the advent of the A.C.A aka Obamacare, employers were let off the hook for 2014 regarding penalties for not providing medical insurance. At the same time, individuals were required to have it. The home health giant dropped health insurance benefits, not for office staff or management, but ONLY for the nurses who delivered the care.
That led to the pursuit of an individual policy for my wife paid with after-tax dollars of $605 per month. To the uninformed, this means having to earn $800 per month, paying $195 dollars in Social Security, Medicare, and income taxes, to net $605 to pay the premiums. (Question: who got the $195 that she did not have to pay beforehand?)
Then we discover that her doctors are not included on the “in network” list or are not accepting her new coverage. Several times we drove to the offices of doctors who were listed as providers on the company’s website, and discovered that they either dropped out of the “network,” or closed their doors.
In December she got notice that her premiums were increasing to $710 for 2016 for the math challenged, this is a 17.4% increase.) Another $140 per month of earnings less $35 in taxes. So we were facing paying $940 of her pre-tax earnings each month ($11,280 per year) for insurance with $2,000 deductible and $7,000 annual out of pocket.
Fortunately, her new employer offered her better health insurance benefits as of 01/01/2016 at $360 per month for her share. She now only has to earn 470 dollars per month, and pay $110 in taxes to cover this benefit.
But wait, there is more. We both tried for nearly two weeks to cancel the old policy. Nowhere on the health insurer’s website are information or links to cancel a policy. We called the 800 number for customer service numerous times, only to be subjected to hour plus waits ending in mysterious hang ups. When I finally reached the customer service number after 1 hour and 40 minutes of waiting, I was informed that I had to call the Marketplace to cancel the policy.
After another wait, I was told I had to give them 14 day’s advance notice to stop the January premium payment. This would have meant $710 paid for January for double coverage. When I asked who I could talk to, I was given an 800 number that was answered by the health insurance company.
This is not apocrypha; this is first-hand experience. Replicate this experience millions of times and you have the cost we are paying for the changes caused by Obamacare, not counting the coming tax filings by employers and employees, the IRS processing and enforcement.