Friday, October 4, 2013


So I have tried for 4 days to get on the Obamacare Exchange Web Site to price their plans.  Every time I try, I have either gotten errors, time outs or a message that the Web site is busy, and I have to wait.  This is crazy.  Imagine if Google or Amazon were run like this.  They would be out of business instead of the major market forces that they are.

My interest in the prices is more than idle curiosity.  As an independent consultant, I carry my own insurance purchased on the individual market. I recently received notice that the plan I carefully researched and selected will no longer be offered once my current plan year ends because it does not meet the requirements of the Affordable Care Act.  So much for the promise that if you like your plan you can keep it!  The notice gave no details, but I suspect at least part of the issue is that I don't carry all of the coverage that Washington bureaucrats deem essential.  For example, my plan does not cover pregnancy or new born care.  That is by choice, since I and my wife are at the stage in life where there is 0 chance we are going to need that coverage, but the government is telling me I have to carry it as it is essential.

I want to get the prices so I can budget ahead for when my current plan ends.  I know I will not qualify for any subsidies, and I know that the plan must include coverage I do not want, but the bureaucracy says I must carry.  Given that, I expect my price will go up.  I want to have an idea of how much, but since the government apparently cannot successfully run a high volume web site, I can't even get the information.

UPDATE:  So I finally get past the "Sorry the site is really busy" page, and go about creating my account.  I got as far as clicking the create account button, and was taken to an error page. From there the only choice was to start again.  Very frustrating user experience.

UPDATE II:  I managed to get through the entire process and get prices.  As I suspected, the plans offered to me are all significantly more costly than the one I currently carry.  The current plan for my family of 5 costs $688 a month with a $5000 family deductible (in network). After the deductible everything is covered 100% it is a PPO type plan with a wide range of doctors available. Out of network care is covered as well, but with a higher deductible and greater out of pocket costs. This plan is HSA qualified, meaning I can pay the deductible charges with pre-tax dollars.

On the exchange the cheapest plan I found runs $833 per month and has $6350 per person $8000 deductible. After the deductible only 60% of costs are covered up to the maximum out of pocket of $12.700. This plan is not HSA qualified despite its high deductible.  Doing the math, I will have to pay an extra $145 a month or $1740 per year just to have coverage.  If there is a significant illness in my family, then I could end up putting out as much as $12,700 instead of the $5000 I would put out under my current plan.  All told that is minimum of $1740 extra, and possibly as much as $9440 in a year.  And none of that is tax deductible either.  So much for the if you like your plan you can keep it and the we will lower your costs promises of the Democrats.  I am not one of the rich that they like to rail against, but I am getting screwed by stupid government rules.

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