Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Under Obamacare MS Sufferer Will Save *$12 A YEAR* And Receive Less Coverage (Guest Post)

This is the first "guest post" on this blog. I know the author, Sandra, personally and I recently became aware of some of the impending changes to her health coverage due to Obamacare. (A few years ago Sandra was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis.) Several days ago Sandra mentioned that she was going to be writing an email to the president and some members of Congress in which she was going to address these new changes in her health coverage which are a direct result of Obamacare. I suggested to her that I should post her email message here on my blog for others to read and hopefully share. She agreed. What follows is the email that Sandra, who has a degree in accounting, will be sending to the president and select members of Congress:

Subject: Health Insurance Disaster

Dear Mr. President and Members of Congress:

I want to let you know that I am AGAINST the new health care law.

Before I get into what has happened to me regarding my health care, I am going to paraphrase a couple things I have heard regarding Obamacare. First, over and over as it was being discussed, we were told "if we like our current plan, we will be able to keep it". Second, if anything, the "out of control" health care costs will go down.

The end of last week I received the proposed new health care option for me from Blue Cross Blue Shield who is my current provider. I was eagerly anticipating this letter because "the unknown" regarding expenses is difficult for me due to my limited income; what a blow it was. The first paragraph of the letter stated that the plan I currently have is NO LONGER AVAILABLE. So much for the "if we like our plan, we can keep it" mantra.

I considered, "Well, maybe they have a better and cheaper plan for me?" WRONG. The plan Blue Cross Blue Shield is moving me into is the SAME plan I TURNED DOWN last Fall when I was reviewing plans because it was so expensive.

The new premium I'll be paying will save me a whopping $1 per month. This $12 yearly "savings" includes the following changes to my plan:

  • My deductible increases from $1,000 to $3,500.
  • My office visits increase from $40 per visit to $60 per visit for up to two visits. Any more than two visits a year are subject to the deductible. Under my current plan I was allowed unlimited office visits at the rate of $40 per visit. The full cost of an office call is $167 per visit.
  • Currently, when I get my prescriptions filled with the generic brand, I pay nothing. Under the new plan, my prescriptions are subject to the deductible.
  • Mental health is not currently covered on my health plan, but the $300 a month anti-depressant I NEED is covered by a financial assistance program through the pharmaceutical company. I have NO IDEA how this will be affected with the new coverage. ***(see below)
  • I also have Multiple Sclerosis. I should be getting an MRI at least once a year to monitor the disease. Right now I am unable to do this because I am unable to afford my current deductible. The increase in my new deductible will further decrease my likelihood of receiving what should be a yearly MRI.
  • The medicine I currently self-inject weekly to help decrease progression of this disease costs right at $4,000 a month. YES, that is $4,000 per month. Luckily, with my current plan and with the assistance of a Multiple Sclerosis support group, I only have to pay $10 per month. Once again I have NO IDEA how this will be affected with the new plan. ***(see below)

I have to admit, at this point, I stopped looking at the comparison between the two plans to see what other better options they had for me. Like I mentioned earlier this "better for me" plan is the same plan I turned down last Fall because it would cost me so much more. It shouldn't take a rocket scientist to do a little mental math on this to see that the expense of the "new and better" health coverage is going to cost more than the premium savings I will be receiving of $12 per year. The story is the same when it comes to my husband's coverage.

You might come back with the argument that "if you qualify", the subsidy will help defray these costs. There are SEVERAL PROBLEMS with that.

First, is the "if you qualify" line. Right now we live paycheck-to-paycheck. (This is after having to close our own business because the costs of being self-employed in the current economy were too high.) Although there is ALWAYS "more month at the end of the money", we do not qualify for several assistance programs now because we earn too much. Some people may counter this with a statement saying we need to budget better. Our paychecks go to the house payment, utilities, groceries, health insurance, gas to get to work (we live in a rural area), and the one fun extra of satellite television. NO VACATION, NO WEEKEND TRIPS, NO FUN NEW SCHOOL CLOTHES (second-hand or hand-me-downs only), and LIMITED SCHOOL ACTIVITIES FOR OUR GIRLS who are both in elementary school. Trust me, I have pared down our expenses to the bare minimum.

Secondly, regarding the subsidies, I still have no idea how the government can afford to pay them. Per what we hear, the medicaid, medicare, and social security programs are financially unsound. So, explain to me how forcing everyone to obtain health care and then offering a subsidy to pay for it will help EASE the financial stress on the above-mentioned programs. It appears to me that by offering these subsidies the number of people on "Medicaid" just increased by the number of people whom qualify for these "wonderful" subsidies. Why not monitor the current programs better, crack down on the people whom are defrauding these programs, and offer a graduated-assistance plan?

By writing this letter, I hope to convince you that the Affordable Care Act is anything BUT affordable to this mom, wife and United States Citizen who lives in Nebraska. Please do NOT fund this program. Waiting until it was passed to see what was in the Affordable Care Act HAS cost and WILL cost the United States Citizens more than we can afford to pay.


Sandra Homolka

*** - The reason Sandra has "no idea" what the effect will be is because no one currently has access to the plan or cost information on the website until October 1st as seen in the screen shot below. It's kind of like before the bill was passed - they had to pass it in order for us to see what was in it. Now, Obamacare has to go into effect (for those that didn't receive a waiver, that is) in order for us to see what is in it:

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