The purpose of this post is to record my experience of ACA as it occurs.
This letter indicates that 9 of 11 currently existing Highmark health insurance policies (including mine) in the state of PA are being cancelled as a result of Obamacare. Mine is good through 2014.
I called to find out what is the deal. Abby told me that #1) I will be receiving ~10% increase in premium for existing plan starting Dec 1, #2) the plan replacing mine will cost significantly more, but she didn’t have a number, and #3) lots of plans are cancelled.
So, NO, you can’t keep your insurance if you like it. There’s a lot of back-patting going on about the number of people who are looking at healthcare.gov (and not seeing anything but a crash screen), with the assumption that these are all uninsured people clamoring for a policy. I wonder how many of them are checking because their plan has been cancelled, like me? Why haven’t we heard a PEEP about this on the news?
I will update this post if I see anything about this anywhere, and also once I find out how much more the new insurance is going to cost.
update 10/3/13 12:30PM: Got a login name and password. But can’t log in yet. It’s a start!
update 10/4/13 10AM: Still can’t log in. And now this from ZeroHedge. I wonder if it is true that so few people are actually signing up. Called for assistance. The woman on the phone told me the system is probably overwhelmed and to try again when it wasn’t so overloaded. That’s helpful. 1PM: Logged in. Filled out “application” and digitally signed it. It sent me back to the beginning of the “application” again. You can’t check pricing without giving all the details on all the people who will be covered, including how they are all related and everyone’s SSN.
update 10/5/13: Logged in, completed application repeatedly and it finally took it. Then the system asked for verification of my identity so I uploaded a copy of my driver’s license.
update 10/6/13: Got a notice via email from the system (the email basically just said, you have a notice). Did not have time to work on it today.
Update 10/7/13 9AM: Now can’t log in again. Still yet to see any plans or pricing. One week and counting. Maybe when the shutdown ends. LOL! Finally got logged in, looked at notice. They are asking for me to upload my DL. Which I already did.
Update 10/8/13 7:30AM: System is down for scheduled maintenance. It says try again at 10AM. Tried a bunch more times yesterday and could not get past the screen that keeps saying I have a notice. After I download the same notice again, it logs me out. So when I log back in then it says I have a notice. This has stopped being entertaining and is now moving into annoying. 11AM: Gave them an extra hour. Now getting the “we have a lot of visitors on this site right now” message again. OK, logged in. Same notice again. Now it is making me start the application all over AGAIN. OH, but it won’t save and continue now. 8PM: never got back in all day. Checked Highmark website and found some information. Looks like premiums are going to be about double for me, but I will need to spend quite a bit of time on it to determine what the costs really are, for the premiums and deductibles.
Update 10/9/13 9AM: First time that the site has opened properly, gone to login page on first try, logged in properly, and then to My profile page. Still has the same notice. Downloaded it again. Clicked on continue application. It made me start all over AGAIN. This time it completed the application. Uploaded DL again. It says that it will send me a notice once my identity has been verified. 2PM: No email but checked website anyway. On my profile it shows identity verification pending. Same notice shows up again dated 10/5/13 that I have opened at least 1/2 dozen times.
Update 10/10/13 2PM: Logged in OK but have to keep refreshing screen and clicking on my name, my profile, etc to get anything to show up. Under my profile it says identity not verified and shows a link for verify identity now! So I clicked the link and get a blank page. No email yet. Maybe my identity won’t be verified until the shutdown is over. And the other 2 million people’s identities are verified. 3PM: This time it says identity under review. Same notice again dated 10/5.
Update 10/11/13 11AM: Can’t log in today. No email yet. I see on a blog where someone says there is now a window shopping option. I found it (not very easy to find, btw,) answered a couple of questions, and BAM, it told me there were 0 plans for me. Oh, and all plans may not be available at this time due to technical issues. How is anyone enrolling? Or is anyone enrolling?
Update 10/14/13 11AM: Still no email. Logged in. Same notice dated 10/5. Same red message in My Profile that says Identity Verification Pending. Went through the questions again to see prices, again zero plans for me.
Update 10/23/13: Still no email. Logged in. Same notice dated 10/5. Red message now says, Identity wasn’t verified. Clicked the link, and it went to Sorry, We Can’t Find That Page on Healthcare.gov, oh, and logged me out. Logged back in. Application now says that it is incomplete again. Filled it all out AGAIN. Went to upload verification. Will not take the file. They made it a little easier to see plans before buying, oh, no, I was wrong, not easier. And, yep, still zero plans for me.
Update 10/24/13: Check this out. From Market Ticker. Well, now we know the costs. Ball park anyway.
Update 10/29/13: People are starting to catch on about cancelled policies. From ZeroHedge. “Obama’s promises that individuals would be able to keep their existing healthcare plans following the rollout of the Affordable Care Act. The truth, as NBC reports, is they can’t but what’s worse is that Obama knew as early as July 2010 that 40 to 67 percent of customers will not be able to keep their policy. And that’s not all: since the 14 millions consumers who buy their insurance individually will be forced into comparable plans, they are all set to experience a “sticker shock” when “opting” for the mandatory alternatives.”
And now from Greg Mankiw: President Obama is getting heat over his often repeated claim that, under his healthcare reform, “If you like your plan, you can keep it.” It is clear now that for millions of Americans, particularly those who participated in the individual insurance market, that is simply not true.
And just now, a wonderful summary from Andrew Sullivan. THANK YOU!
The opposing argument is summed up as, yes, your plan is cancelled, but the new one is better, even if it costs more, and all the reporting about cost is lazy and not accurate anyway. These people always use stupid analogies, so here’s one right back at ya: My 80 year old dad needed a new cell phone. He had an old flip phone, call and text only. They sold him an iPhone. It costs a lot more and does a lot more. He wants his old phone back. He has learned how to use the iPhone, and he STILL wants his old phone back. Who are we to judge? Here’s one from Prospect.
11/1/13: Well it appears that there are a lot of bloggers out there quite happy to judge, and tell us that the insurance we had was not the insurance we liked and wanted to keep. And there is a lot of denial, like this piece that basically states that large employer plans are (mostly) not required to change (right now). What??? Warning, lots more qualifiers in there. And what I really got out of that article was that 1) large employers have a looser standard, meaning the plans they can choose to buy will be cheaper, and 2) small employers are SOL just like us individual purchasers. Screw the small guy. I also have not seen any outrage over the waivers given to big businesses and unions so they can keep their plans that don’t meet the new standard.
11/4/13: Obama promises the website will work by Thanksgiving. I’ll try again after that. In the meantime I am seeing articles popping up about the pitfalls built into this law. Here’s one from Peter Schiff, who is a finance guy. lambert has a whole page of his blog dedicated to it.
11/12/13: Best article yet. Data based. Thank you, Michael Olenick. Why do people still think this is a Repbulican vs. Democrat issue? It is a humans vs. corporations issue. Lori Gottleib is taking a beating for this article. I totally sympathize with her. And those bashing her appear (here, here to care more about defending their partisan position than seeking any kind of truth. Her final result may be different than what she has found out so far, but the whole system is a disaster in a lot of ways. How does screwing over people who are moderately successful lead to financial success? How are these self employed types ever expected to maybe make a successful startup? It was bad enough before. But I think there are people out there who, like me, are not all that interested in the R said, D said game. Like Rick Moran.
11/19/13: I will try the site again in January or so. Meantime, here’s how Obamacare will do to Obama what it is doing to America. And here is another way that it is not really helping people, but only corporations.
11/20/13: This post describes how health care is not, an cannot under Obamacare or even if it is just plain repealed, be anything approaching a free market. Sorry for that horrible sentence.