I have made a lot of negative comments about Obamacare on my blog, but I don’t think I’ve really written a substantial blog entry about why I feel the way I feel. I plan to do that today. I’m going to be very open and up front about my personal situation using real numbers from my life. I know that I represent a “very small percentage” of individuals who are in this situation, but I am in this situation nonetheless.
I am a computer programmer who works full time at a very small company of 4 people. I currently make a gross income of about $55,000 a year, for a household of 2. Employees at my company get paid out a certain amount of cash by the company every month as part of our Section 125 Cafeteria Plan (which I have counted as part of my gross income). Prior to the Affordable Health Care For America Act taking effect, I would subsidize the health incentive money with $100/month out of my base salary to pay for the monthly premiums for minimal coverage high deductible health plans for both me and my partner while also put a little bit of money away tax free into a health savings account. Our total premiums per month was about $250/month altogether, and I was putting away about $250/month into an HSA. That’s about $3000 for health insurance every year, and $3000 in tax free savings that I can use to pay for co-insurance and prescriptions (which are not covered in our plans). Not necessarilyy ideal, but whatever, it worked for us.
I received notice of my updated healthcare plan yesterday from my insurance provider. Our new health premiums are now almost doubled - each of our plans will increase $100 a month in 2014. Our new out of pocket maximum has also increased to $6350 a year while HSA contribution limits are capped off at $3300 a year per individual account. Our coinsurance has become an ominous “40% of costs after deductible” rather than the set numbers of $50/visit or $10/x-ray we were provided originally.
So this means that my health premium payments have now increased by $2400 a year, or 4.4% of my income. Since I pay my health insurance premiums out of my taxable income, I not only pay out almost 10% of my income just for health insurance, I also pay out 2% of my total yearly income in taxes for the money that goes towards government mandated health insurance. At this rate, we can probably afford to go to the doctor and negotiate a cash payment for our preventive care check ups. Better yet? We could drive across the border for all our routine medical and dental needs in Tijuana where they have plenty of high quality medical facilities where the cost of a visit is equal to what would constitute a co-pay here in the states. Could get some damn good street tacos while we’re at it, too.
However, if we opt for either of those options, we would be penalized by the federal government - in the first year, 2014, $95/adult or 1% of our income, whichever is greater. So - in our case - $550 this year and in following years, more and more until it caps off at $695/adult or 2.5% of our income, whichever is greater, in 2016.
I don’t know why they call it the affordable health care law because I don’t know who it’s supposed to be affordable for. I read that by 2016, the average cost of annual health premiums purchased from the exchanges will range between $4500-5000 per person, depending on age (source). That’s a fucking lot of money for someone like me who makes a medium range salary.
And even though I am of a small group of people who would be directly affected financially by this law, a lot of people are actually going to be affected financially. Because even for those people who are covered under employer sponsored or subsidized insurance, their employers will be suffering the increase in health benefit costs and/or penalties. Just because the government is forcing people to get health insurance, does not mean companies are making more money. So where do you think the company’s increased costs are going to come out of? The magical health insurance money tree? No. It will come out of what would’ve been salary increases and holiday bonuses.
So what the fuck are we supposed to do here? Either way, I am paying toward something that I am not using - really expensive yet low quality health insurance, or else a tax penalty for not having insurance. Are there any proponents out there that can help me see any light on this? Obama? Care to explain? This was your big plan? This is supposed to be your huge legacy? Honestly, don’t anyone fucking call this law “Obamacare” to my face again. I am dubbing it “ObamaDon’tCare”.