My Health Insurance Just Shut Down Operations. I’m Scared.
Do 200,000 New Yorkers deserve “Shut Down Subsidies” as recourse after losing their Health Republic insurance network?
In November of 2013 I wrote about my experience navigating the New York State Marketplace. The process was too complicated but I was so excited when I finally settled on a plan. I believed I had done my research and asked the right questions. And I had. But it hasn’t been easy.
18 months later I wrote a followup post describing how difficult my health insurance experience had been. I called that post One Year Later: Health Republic Affordable Care Act Health Insurance Has Failed Me. And it had.
Since that post, I had found an amazing ally at Health Republic. This wonderful woman and I emailed at least weekly. And through our communications, my experience with Health Republic improved immeasurably. Most importantly, my doctors were finally getting paid. They even got paid on time.
And then I got this email. Suddenly it feels as though my whole world has shattered. It quite literally took my breath away.
Good Morning Liz,
I hope this message finds you well.
I am writing to provide some very unfortunate news… On Friday Health Republic was told to shut down operations by the end of the year. This is a surprise to the staff as well as the members as we (internally) were preparing for open enrollment and continued growth and improvement for the upcoming year. I am writing to you, now, to ensure I am able to say “farewell”…It has been a pleasure providing assistance to you. Although Health Republic may no longer be after this year, I hope that you’ll never forget us and what we strived for, even through the frustrations of the unique operational model you encountered. Although I may be unable to assist, directly (after a presently unknown date), or provide guidance, I would like to extend my contact details. If you ever need an ear, a shoulder, an opinion… you can feel free to reach out to me. My email address is below.
It took two years to get my Health Insurance plan to work for me. And when it started to work, it became a support system. I recently needed to see a Neuro Ophthalmologist. The reasons why were scary. And when I mentioned to my Health Republic ally how long it would take to get in, they called the doc and got me an appointment the very next day. When I arrived for the appointment, I found an email in my inbox from my HR ally asking if I had arrived, asking if I needed any help. And when I left, I got an email from my HR ally wishing me well. She felt relief when I told her it was all going to be ok.
Now it’s gone. And I don’t know what to do. Do I just start over, I don’t want another two year fight to get the coverage I need. Do I find out where my Health Republic ally is going and follow her? She cared. I want someone to care. Or do I give up on my doctors, the doctors who have not only brought me back to life, but given me a life in which I can thrive. I know I won’t choose the latter. But I’m lost. I wish the plan I had worked so hard for carried over. Because without it, I’m lost. Scared. And heartbroken.
All I can say is I’m bearing the grunt of some incredible nation-wide growing pains. I can only hope that my continued fight will have a positive affect on a system that will eventually work. Because it will eventually work. It has to. It can’t stay like this. I deserve better. I deserve everything my Health Republic ally gave me. And so do you.
… and no, it’s not Obama’s fault.
Update: Please take a moment to consider that I am just one of 200,000 New Yorkers who have found themselves in this situation. I believe there needs to be some recourse. And consider how gracious the email was that my my now jobless ally sent me. Heartbreak abounds.
Update: I have reached out to New York State of Health asking for recourse (a shut down subsidy?). I will let you know when they respond. This is what I said:
Hi NY State of Health. I just received notice that my health insurance is shutting down at the end of this year. I believe I (as well as other Health Republic insurees) are deserving of a little recourse. I have a letter from Health Republic stating my Out of Network doctor is covered as in network in perpetuity, and I would like your assistance in assuring this coverage is carried over to my next Marketplace plan. Can you please help me get back in touch with the right person to make this happen? Thanks so much.