questionshow has the affordable care act affected you?

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It caused my insurance premium to increase from $400 a month to $800. Kinda sounds like the opposite of affordable :-p

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@ohcheri: Ouch. I thought rates weren't supposed to go up?

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It has crucified me! My premiums are going up 102% with higher co-pays and a larger deductible. I sure am glad you asked this question because I'm all torn up over it! It should be called the "UN"affordable Care Act.

Sorry I can't provide the positive feedback you were looking for.

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And one more thing, my current BCBS plan will be cancelled effective 12/31/13 even though "someone" told us if we had a plan we liked, we could keep it. That is all....

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my BCBSIL policy is no longer being offered. my closest option is going to be $255 a month versus the $125 they had just raised it to (lucky 40th birthday).
so they tell me i should qualify for medicare for assistance because of my income...medicare says no.
i used my insurance ONCE in the last three years (and then only cause hubby said i had to go to doc). just doesn't seem like a good thought.

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God forbid I get extremely sick, I won't get dropped.

So there's that...

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@thepenrod: I thought we would be allowed to keep our current plan if we were happy with it. I was so naive to actually believe what a public servant said.

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Aside from spending days attempting to create an account on the website, once I finally was able to get it somewhat working, I was blown away by the plans offered - the absolute cheapest option for my state is $218 a month, and that has a $6000 deductible and not much coverage after that, only 60%. I have gone to the doctor once in the past 7 years, so I really see nothing positive about what is offered for me.

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@3dgraphics: That's called catastrophic coverage. Having been there done that, all I can say was certainly worth it. Never needed dr. before, never thought I would need it . Glad my employer had it.

My insurance not affected. {So far}

It's sad that we have the worst care of most industrialized nations.
We needed a change, but doesn't look like this is going to do it.
I'm for a single payer plan my self.
Too many cooks, er crooks? , with fingers in the pot. Too many in congress had insurance lobby friends and it got stripped to this.
Frustrating.

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@ohcheri: No, you were naive enough to think that your employer won't jerk you around if they think they can make a buck.

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No change. I still have a great plan.

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Our plan at work is good through 07/14 so no changes right now, same plan as the past 16 years. We'll see what happens when the renewal comes around next year.

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The only change to my insurance coverage has been that I can keep my daughter covered until she is 26. Yahoo! Also, I was finally able to persuade the insurance company that mental health challenges should be treated the same way as physical disabilities and developmental disabilities when allowing overage dependents to remain on their parents' coverage. That was a great victory for me, personally, and for other families in our area who have dependents with mental illnesses who are unable to support themselves or to obtain insurance coverage on their own. This includes those with autism spectrum disorders. Hopefully this sets a precedent for other insurance companies.

If you're looking for other positives, I know several families who were threatened with the loss of insurance coverage when a family member became seriously ill, but who are now assured that this cannot happen. I also have a BIL who can now obtain coverage without facing denial due to his pre-existing diabetes.

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- Continued -

Unfortunately, I live in a state in which the governor refused to participate in the Medicaid expansion so nearly a quarter of a million poor, uninsured, non-elderly adults will still fall into the ACA coverage gap. This, while the same governor is dismantling our safety net systems for health and mental health care.

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I'm a healthy 44 year old male. My high deductible plan went UP by 63%. Hardly what I consider affordable. And my annual out of pocket max went up about $2,500.

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@ohcheri and @missellienc: You can keep a policy you like, as long as the policy continues to exist. If your insurance company changes their plans (or an employer changes what they offer), then your options change as well. The government/ACA can't force companies to provide any given coverage.

I found this interesting and distressing: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/10/20/little-competition-insurers-some-states-obamacare-plans/2986795/

With any luck at all, sometime in the next 10 years we may actually manage to change to a nationwide single-payer system.

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To answer the specific question: It's not affecting me or The Spouse at all.

As a military retired, The Spouse is covered fully under Tricare.

I'm on Medicare, with Tricare as my primary provider, so I don't have to purchase a supplemental policy or the drug coverage (is that Part D?).

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Mine is the same except no more Pre-existing....No deductible no co-pay preventative testing...Woo saves you a bundle just for those....and no need to put those off anymore.

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@belyndag: The only difference between your governor and mine is that mine got out of a Medicare/Medicaid scandal about six steps ahead of prosecution. Oh, and yours doesn't look like Gollum.

I'm glad to hear about the mental-health coverage for your daughter; I'm sure that's a major relief.

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@magic cave: I wish it was that easy. All BCBS non-grandfathered plans are being cancelled effective 12/31/13 (according to my letter). They don't meet the ACA guidelines.

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@magic cave: Good article, thanks. There is only one insurer on the NC exchange.

By the way, thanks to your husband for his military service.

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@missellienc: That's pretty much what I was saying. The ACA can't force companies to meet their standards and offer policies. Folks who have policies they like and which meet ACA standards don't have to make any changes, though.

So much for the concept of "the rational market."

We need single-payer coverage here.

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Price of O'Bama care is higher with less coverage. I had catastrophe insurance and the current insuring company is cancelling all Plans in order to get rid of us loyal rate payers and start new, more expensive Plans. Actual cost of the new Plan will be almost $300 more per month with less covered. Being over 50 makes this extremely expensive since I pay for the actual individual Plan. I was also told to look to Medicaid for assistance with O'Bama care. I will and report back. As someone else said, the insurance companies are not taking this change lightly and are being vindictive. Loyalty has no rewards in my case.

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The bottom line: my premium went up $30. The caveat: the govt is going to pay for 50% as a tax credit and my coverage and deductibles are better than they were. It looks like it may also be cheaper for my company to buy my insurance and have me pay 50% which would bring it down to 1/4 of what it was.

I still think it would be far cheaper to have a single payer and cut out the profiteering,.. but it's a start...

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It has made me very cranky.

Single payer scares me even more, though.... my grandfather in Sweden was waiting nearly 2 years for life-saving surgery which was postponed over and over until he finally died on the waitlist. Which seems to be the goal of single payer systems where the elderly are just an unproductive nuisance. It even happened to the former head of England's National Health Service very recently. If the govt would just get out of the way and let insurance companies sell across state lines, there would be true cost savings through real competition.

It still makes me cranky. Except when I see something fricking hilarious, like the leftie san fancisco papers publishing how-to's on how to game the new system...

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No change for me. I am extremely fortunate that my employer pays 100% of my premium. However, the policy is pretty much just "catastrophic coverage", so I rarely use it.

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My company-offered insurance plan went from $478/mo for a family of 3 to $974/mo with an increase to the annual out of pocket of $3000.

Luckily for me I opted out and will continue to get TricarePrime. I feel bad for my coworkers though, 2 of which looked at AHA plans and found they were just as bad.

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My rates go up within the next 6 months...they nearly double, along with co-pays, etc.

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I'm covered by a state employer's group insurance. The fiscal year goes through next June so I won't find out how bad it is until closer to then when the new rates are out.

When ACA passed, I did not have insurance coverage. I was living paycheck to paycheck despite making a decent living wage - I was paying off debt. I was terrified when I thought about having to come up with the money to pay the fine. It would have added up to over $100/mo. I knew we wouldn't get the benefit of insurance - just an extra tax. At that time, we'd only gone to a doctor twice in 5 years for needed antibiotics and we were still paying off an MRI bill.

Sure an insurance plan would have been nice, but we wouldn't have been able to afford to be forced to try to buy something. A job change is the only thing that saved us.

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@thepenrod: I think that was a fantasy. It wasn't a lie - a lot of people believed it.

Eliminating pre-existing conditions and several other cost-cutting measures insurers use are supposed to be balanced out by forcing everyone to get insurance. The big issue is that the people who are being forced to buy insurance aren't going to buy insurance from the companies whose costs are going up. They'll buy theirs from whatever low-cost alternative pops up.

And if you're not poor enough for a subsidy you may be forced to pay the fine when you can't afford insurance. Income isn't the only reason you can't afford something - you could budget yourself out of it and then lock up your income by getting into debt. And there's no assistance for that. I don't believe the fine is going to the insurance companies to help with their new rate problem. I think it goes to the IRS as any other tax.

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@missellienc: Yeah, you can keep your plan, as long as your HMO feels it is still profitable to offer it. Otherwise they get the right to sell it to you at twice (or more) of the price you used to pay. This bill was a massive handout to the insurance companies.

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The ACA is just another massive handout for big business. In this situation, the politicians finally paid their shared masters of the health insurance industry. There is hardly a politician in Washington DC currently - democrat, republican, or otherwise - who did not receive a huge campaign contribution from at least one insurance company. This is why instead of actually reforming health care, or making it more affordable in any meaningful way, this bill made us all obligate customers of the insurance industry and gave them a nearly endless supply of loopholes to use to increase costs for the consumer.

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@kamikazeken: I'm going to respond particularly to your "sell[ing] across state lines" argument.

First of all, the government does not prohibit companies from doing this. If you live in Maine and you want to buy an insurance policy from Arizona (for example - I have no idea where you live and it matters not for this discussion), you are free to do so. However, no health care provider in Maine is required to accept a policy from another state where the plan might not meet the state's usual requirements for coverage. There is, however, no law that prohibits the sale.

Second, the sale of an arbitrary number of policies from an arbitrary number of states would actually drive health care costs up, not down. The reason this would happen is simple, it would increase the office costs for the providers. As it is, the people who work in any given office who are not tasked with seeing patients spend the majority of their time dealing with claims so they can get paid. (continued...)

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@kamikazeken: (continued...) if you increase the number of companies they need to communicate with, and the number of plans they need to understand, you just increase their workload. Soon you have to hire more people just to handle the new bureaucracy. This all has to be paid somehow, and that cost will end up going to the patients. I personally know of many clinics that have in recent years chosen to actually accept fewer plans because some are becoming too difficult to deal with and paying too low to afford to keep in business - now you are saying you want someone to force them to accept more plans. This will not reduce the cost of health care.

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@lparsons42: I'm sorry, you must have accidentally missed the notice above to keep it relevant to your personal impact. We don't need any political uproar that turns ugly.

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It's costing me a fortune. Or it will eventually.

The last time I needed a doctor, it was for a broken arm in 1997. I run 50 miles/week, I eat well, and I'm an RN, so prescriptions and medical advice are kind of a job perk. Now a bunch of shmucks decide I get to pay for other peoples' insurance (again, I mean... they're still taking medicare out of my checks every payday).

When even catastrophic coverage is $300+ a month, I'll be opting out and paying the fines until they get close to $4000/year, at which point hopefully we'll see this whole mess isn't working and get rid of it.

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@publiclurker: I don't have an employer. I pay for my own policy so I mostly ignored all the talk about the ACA because I thought it didn't apply to me. Ha!

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@magic cave: Sorry, but you are wrong. My insurance company sent me a letter telling me my policy was canceled as of Dec. 31. This is after they have steadily increased the premiums over the last 2 years in preparation to comply with ACA. I've heard many stories of other people getting the same letters.

My "new" policy has exactly the same coverage but costs twice as much. After shopping around all other insurance providers will charge me the same.

"The government/ACA can't force companies to provide any given coverage."

That is precisely what the government HAS done. Example, even though I am 52 years old and have been sterile for 32 years I am required to carry maternity coverage.

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@thepenrod: Sorry about that. Being as the ACA hasn't actually done anything yet, and you can't study health care costs in a vacuum regardless, people really cannot state that the bill made their health care costs go up. There are plenty of other factors are play. It is impossible in this country to discuss this bill without getting political.

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I went from free insurance from my company with a $25 copay (ie cancer treatment for my husband cost a total of $25 for all doctors appointments including chemo and radiation, and about $1000 total in prescriptions) to $275 a month premium and a $3000 deductible. And while we now have an HSA, our employer only contributed half of the first deductible for $750.

That is just for me. My husband pays the same, as we work together. If we combined our policy, $875 month and $6000 deductible. Needless to say, I am NOT a happy camper.

For those without changes to their premiums and plans: I envy you.

For all those who have been surprised by these changes... You should have read the ACA instead of sticking your head in the sand. Maybe then we wouldn't be forced to have it foisted on us.

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Last time I checked we lived in the USA where things like this couldn't be passed without the people voting on it. Guess it may be time for a second American Revolution!

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Sorry, no positive effects here.

My employee-sponsored policy's rates, copays & deductibles have skyrocketed, now that my new ACA-compliant policy is mandated to include benefits like maternity care & pediatric dental/vision care (although I can't have children), substance abuse & addiction treatment (although I've never touched drugs), contraceptive services, chiropractic care, speech therapy, etc. (take a peek - your benefits HAVE changed - great for some, not so much for others!)

In researching ACA plans for my uninsured husband, it appears the 'best' plan for him would cost us $277/mo (after applicable subsidy) with a $6k deductible and 40% out of pocket expenses. This, imo, is nothing more than an overpriced catastrophic policy - which, sadly, we just can't afford. It looks like, if nothing changes, we'll have to pay the penalty this year. After that, well, I guess we'll be waving bye-bye to the lower-middle class.

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@vegassmitty: Perhaps you have forgotten that we have a representative government, where we elect representatives to vote on matters like this. If everything had to go to a popular vote, we probably wouldn't have yet allowed women to vote, the voting age would be 21, and senators would be appointed by governors (to name only a few). And that is without considering the complexity of trying to get a popular vote on anything organized and tabulated, as well as the difficulty in deciding what counts as a majority when less than half the country's eligible population can even be bothered to go out and vote for a president.

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@magic cave: Jindal doesn't look like Gollum? I beg to differ. Although, in truth, he more closely resembles the love child of Gollum and Barney Fife.*

*My apologies to the family of Don Knotts.

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My best friend is retired, he's worked as a handyman and odd jobs without insurance for several years now, He spends a lot of time on roofs, handling power tools and electricity, doing heavy lifting, and I have been scared for him. According to his initial investigation on the ACA website, he'll be able to buy catastrophic coverage, which is what he really needs as he is in overall good health, for about half what it would have been before. I am planning to retire at the end of next year and I have dabbled around on a few health care calculators. It looks as if I will be able to obtain coverage for about half to 2/3rds the cost of keeping the health insurance I currently have from my employers (they offer it to retirees but hardly anyone can afford it). Since by my best thumbnail calculation my income will be almost the same after retirement as before, that should make health care pretty accessible to me. I need to seriously examine the cost of living in TX at some point.

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My BCBS plan went down... again.

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Yikes! Sorry that picture came out so big. Scary little bugger, ain't he?

The thing I think we can all agree about is that SOMETHING needs to be done about health care in this country. Maybe the ACA isn't it, but hopefully it's a start.

I have an example of a medical expense gone wild, BTW. A few years ago I needed some medical records for my son. I called the doctor he had been seeing for over a dozen years, but they outsource their medical records management. I had to fax an official letter to that company requesting copies of the documents. After 3 MONTHS and much ado, they finally faxed the records (locally) to me at a charge of almost $10/page. In addition to charging me that rate for each page of the documents requested, they also charged me per page for their cover letter, their fax cover sheet, AND for faxing back to me MY cover letter and fax cover sheet.

Urgh!

If this kind of thing goes on all the time, it really jacks up costs!

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@lparsons42: I hear that! I don't want to spend all my time voting. So we have elected officials that vote on our behalf....but the laws in which they vote upon don't personally affect them....and they can vote on their own pay.... and all their expenses in life are charged as "business expenses" to the citizens....and they can take a mutli-month "vacation" from running the country....and...

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@magic cave: that just isn't true if the plan you currently does not meet the new qualifiactions that all plans must have then they need to be augumented (at your cost) or removed from offerings.