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Obamacare: It May Not Cost As Much As You Think


Don’t let news headlines interfere with the facts about Obamacare.

I buy my health insurance through the Health Insurance Marketplace courtesy of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare. Before ACA, I was uninsurable because of hepatitis C. However, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) allowed me to keep my insurance plan when I left Stanford Medical Center. The cost went up significantly every year. The year before I went on to Obamacare (www.HealthCare.gov), my monthly premiums exceeded $120o. The deductible and coinsurance payments were high. I could not afford to get sick but I couldn’t risk being uninsured.

ACA stopped the hemorrhaging of my income going to my insurance company. I thought life was good. Then I heard the news: Obamacare premiums were going up. I heard all sorts of wild numbers. Then I got the official letter. My payment was going up from $156 to $237 a month. That was more than 50 percent. Granted, this was still more than a thousand dollars less than what I had paid pre-Obamacare, but still, doesn’t the “A” in ACA stand for affordable?

Then I called my insurance agent and she crunched the numbers. ACA subsidizes my plan, and in fact, my monthly premium was dropping to $24 a month. That’s an 85 percent savings. So what’s the real story?

  • A report released by the Department of Health and Human Services  shows that 72 percent of Marketplace consumers in states using HealthCare.gov will be able to find plans with a premium of less than $75 per month. About 2.5 million people enrolled in off-Marketplace individual market coverage have incomes that may qualify them for tax credits to help purchase coverage and save money on their premiums.
  • The average family premium for the more than 150 million Americans with employer coverage is $3,600 lower this year than it would be if pre-ACA premium growth had continued.
  • Since 2008, more than 3 million children have health insurance coverage that they would not otherwise have. In my world, access to health care should be a basic human right, and it grieves me to think that there were children in the U.S. who went unaided. I am happy to pay a higher premium if it means sick kids get health care.

More than 20 million American adults have gained coverage as a result of Obamacare. I was one of them. It may not be perfect, but for me, the improvement is huge. Don’t let the news tell you what the costs are. Get the facts yourself.

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