Share Your Story!

I’m feeling a real sense of urgency this morning, to get as many stories as I can published, because my goal is to make sure politicians have access to the stories of real people, while they are crafting health care reform. I don’t want this to be a place where the community engages in heated arguments over ideology. After all, we do in fact know that some people have been helped by the ACA, and that fact is not to be minimized. But as a health insurance agent, I hear stories from both sides of the fence, and I can only share that there have been many, many stories about people being hurt by the ACA too, and in major ways that some out there could never imagine. For while the ACA, with its well-intentions, gave heath insurance rights to some, it took away rights from others, making it impossible for some to exercise their real rights to pursue the kind of health care they so desperately need. Philosophically, in my opinion, a right cannot really be a right, if it impinges upon anyone else’s right to pursue life, liberty, property, or happiness, and that’s precisely what the ACA did. So this will be a place for people to share how they were hurt by the ACA, in attempt to educate politicians, so they can avoid making the same mistakes while crafting future reforms. The only solution for America will be a plan that works for all Americans. Please use the comments section of this post to share your story. I will be moderating the comments , and will not share any comments that use foul or offensive language. Share with us the raw facts about how the Affordable Care Act changed your life.

3 Replies to “Share Your Story!”

  1. This is a story about one of my clients who’s life was turned upside down by the ACA. The person was in the middle of cancer treatment at MD Anderson in TX, when he was informed that his personal Anthem PPO plan was being cancelled. This year in CO, Anthem is the ONLY insurance company offering individual coverage in this person’s county. Anthem is only offering a local Pathway HMO network as a replacement for the cancelled PPO, and MD Anderson is not in the network. The spouse of the person in question, in desperation, decided to try to put together a micro group for their little construction company, in order to create an employer plan so as to still be able to have the Anthem nationwide PPO network. Unfortunately, Anthem won’t take husband/wife groups of two anymore, nor will any other insurance companies, so to form a group, the family had to agree to pay 100 percent of one of their employee’s insurance, who otherwise would have gone without coverage. Because of their ages, the cost of the three member’s insurance together added up to approximately $2700 per month. On top of this financial hardship, the employee with cancer is not currently producing income, and has had tremendous difficulty getting previously approved treatments “pre approved” on the new plan. Anthem was so backed up with underwriting, the employee still doesn’t have their new ID card, so his healthcare providers have been making him pay out of pocket until ID cards arrive. The emotional stress this financial hardship has caused the family while my client receives chemo has been unbearable. I’ve listened to tears on several occasions, and it just breaks my heart. The insurance plans available on the Exchange do not cover the healthcare providers this person needs to have any chance of beating his rare form of cancer. Their story is heartbreaking, and I share, because I don’t think that most healthy people who qualify for tax credits under Obamacare understand what the ACA has done to the very sick. Politicians, how will you improve the new system so this doesn’t happen anymore?

  2. “Coverage considered unaffordable – The required contribution is more than 8.13% of your household income.” This is coverage exemption A, one of many provided excuses for not having health insurance for 2016, from IRS instructions for form 8965.

    What will the tax penalty be for not buying insurance this year? Maybe zero. Republicans want to change the law but we can’t know what changes (or when) will come until they come. Based on last year’s rules, if your income is less than 12.3 times the cost of insurance coverage there are two outs. Exemption A, above, applies to coverage offered by your employer. In my case, my share (half) of the premium is $1,040/month. This for me, spouse, and one college student dependent. If our total household income is less than $12,792/mo., we’re excused.

    “Aggregate self-only coverage considered unaffordable – Two or more family members’ aggregate cost of self-only employer-sponsored coverage was more than 8.13% of household income, as was the cost of any available employer-sponsored coverage for the entire family.” – Not sure exactly what this exemption means but it appears that the math would be the same as above.

    If you didn’t buy (rent, actually) health insurance for 2016 and are concerned about paying the tax penalty, go to irs.gov, download 2016 Instructions for Form 8965, and familiarize yourself with the Types of Coverage Exemptions on page 3. Maybe the rules will change for 2017 but the wheels of government grind slowly – maybe the same rules will apply for 2017.

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