My experience with ObamacareThe Money Shot Thursday, January 2nd, 2014
With the rough rollout of Healthcare.gov, I was a bit tentative to begin looking at my health care options for Obamacare. You see, I am one of those people that had my policy canceled because it didn’t meet the requirements of Obamacare.
I’m going to tell you about my experience with Obamacare. If you have been delaying like me, then hopefully this article will alleviate some of your fears and encourage you to go take a look at your health care options.
We are lucky in California. Our Obamacare Web site is not the infamous Healthcare.gov that has all the technical glitches. We get to use the Web site CoveredCA.com to buy our health insurance. This Web site has received great reviews and is user-friendly.
Once on the Web site, I clicked on the Resources tab and selected the Shop & Compare tool. They ask four questions: number of people in household, age, income and zip code. That’s all the information needed to get premium information and an explanation of benefit levels. Take note that gender is not a question. Men and women have the same pricing structure.
For me, a 44-year-old living in San Diego County, premiums ranged from $247 per month for a basic Bronze plan up to $368 per month for the high-end Platinum plan. I never go to the doctor, so the Bronze plan is what works best for me. It’s also the plan that most resembles my current high-deductible plan.
At first, I was a bit disappointed to find out my premiums will be going up from $218 to $247. That’s a 13 percent increase. But then I recall my premiums have gone up an average of 21 percent per year over the last three years. A premium increase several times higher than the rate of inflation is not right, but at least 13 percent is less than 21 percent.
A big plus I discovered with the Obamacare plans is the annual preventative care visit that is included with the premiums. There is too much to list what is covered in this preventative care visit. Some of the highlights are testing for HIV and STDs, vaccinations for Hepatitis A and B, flu shots and cholesterol screening.
This preventative care visit is pretty exciting to me. My old plan was impossible to figure out how much an annual visit would cost. Believe me, I tried figuring it out by reading the policy and calling the insurance company. It was crazy and frustrating that no one could answer such a simple question of how much an annual physical would cost.
With Obamacare, I will now be able to get all these tests done during my annual physical and it won’t cost me anything more than my monthly premium. That was a huge positive discovery for me. The news outlets should highlight this great benefit!
On the downside of the Obamacare plan, my deductible is increasing $400 and maximum out-of-pocket limit is increasing by $500. That’s in the acceptable range and wouldn’t send me into bankruptcy if something serious happens. However, it is still not as good as my current plan.
Overall, shopping the new Obamacare plans was a positive experience. It’s simple to compare plans and premiums between the different insurance companies. The Web site never crashed on me. There is no past medical history, no exclusions for pre-existing conditions and no long forms to complete. And I finally know what I am getting from my health insurance when I pay that monthly premium. Go check out CoveredCA.com to find out more about your health care options.
Steve Doster is a Certified Financial Planner™ professional providing commission-free financial advice for do-it-yourself investors. You can reach Steve at Doster Financial Planning by phone 619-688-1192 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow Steve on Facebook, Linked In, Twitter, or blog to get more personal finance advice and tips.
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