I’m on Obamacare and It’s Killing Me Financially

I work for a very small company that isn’t required to offer health insurance, so I purchase my insurance through the ACA (Obamacare). My high monthly premiums and high out of pocket costs have almost driven me into bankruptcy. My healthcare expenses constitute one fifth of my gross yearly income.

I keep hearing from ACA advocates that ‘most people receive subsidies.’ This is bunk. I don’t. I also keep hearing that it’s Obama’s fault. Bunk again. The reasons why the premiums are so high is that the for-profit health insurance companies are offering the best coverage with the highest number of participating doctors and healthcare facilities.

I live in Maine and I’m on an Anthem plan because all of my doctors are participating with Anthem and it’s the best overall value. The Community Health Options (non-profit insurance co-op created through ACA) premiums are about the same price as Anthem and other name-brand, for-profit insurance companies. And most of my doctors do not participate with Community Health Options. Heck, most doctors in general in my area haven’t signed on to Community Health Options — likely because of CHO’s low reimbursement rates.

The ACA is a big mess. Yes, insurance is available to people like me, but it is prohibitively expensive. And if we decide we have to forgo health insurance altogether and go without, the ACA says we must pay a fee.

How did we get here? The insurance industry received millions/billions from our government to participate with ACA, as were states, if they chose the money. Health insurance exchanges like Maine’s CHO were supposed to encourage competitive rates by offering low-cost insurance plans to citizens. Well, this didn’t happen — see the previous paragraph.

Since 2009 when the ACA launched, insurance companies have made tons of money. Meanwhile, the cost of living has gone up for everyday people like me and so have my ACA/Anthem insurance rates. As of January 1, 2017, my premium is set to be raised by 15 to 25 percent. So what’s a gal like me supposed to do?

My options are:

  • Go without health insurance
  • Get a new job that has health insurance benefits and a low premium
  • Get a second job

These are not good options, my friends.

I’m a lefty-liberal on most issues, though I consider myself an independent in general. To me, single payor healthcare makes sense — it takes the profit out of something that every human on earth requires: medicine. But in our survival-of-the-fittest America, I can’t see that ever happening. And I don’t blame just Republicans for this.

Obama and the Democratic-controlled Congress were given the opportunity to pass single-payor healthcare. This was supposed to be an issue central to the Democratic platform, right? Guess again. A bunch of Democrats joined Republicans to vote down single-payor healthcare in 2008-9. Then, the Republicans took power in Congress in 2010 and it’s just been status quo since then.

So that’s the big mess we’re in — driven by politicians’ mistakes and greed and corporations’ greed. Where do we go from here? What am I going to do if my health insurance costs and premiums just keep going up?