TPM Reader GC tells us her story from California …
I am a RN. When I worked in health care for big hospitals or surgery centers I received pretty decent health coverage from my employers that covered me and I paid to cover my husband and two kids. When both my husband and I became self employed we ended up having to buy four separate plans on the individual market for the four of us, mostly because of some preexisting conditions. Every year on our birthdays our premiums have gone up.
Our children are now grown and have coverage through their jobs. My husband and I (62 and 59) are paying $3000/month for our two individual market plans. And because of our health conditions that have come through the act of aging (higher cholesterol, high blood pressure, and some arthritis symptoms) we have been literally trapped with our plans and these health insurance companies because we would be denied insurance with any other company if we tried to change!
I finally had to increase the deductible to $5000 to bring the monthly premium down, but over time the monthly cost kept rising. So now not only do I have a huge deductible and total out of pocket expense, but the monthly cost is where it was when I made those changes!
Living in California we are lucky enough to have a great marketplace. We are still investigating our options, but have narrowed it down to either a gold or platinum plan with Blue Shield or Kaiser. BETTER coverage, NO deductible, EVERYTHING covered with a savings of anywhere between $1000 to $1500/month depending on what plan we eventually choose. I have been on the website many multiple times and have called in the the call center at least 4 times for questions. I have never waited more than a minute or two for my call to be answered by people who have given me excellent customer service.
Buying health insurance is harder than buying a car. So many things to figure out and consider, so we are taking our time to make the right decision on this important and complex question. But because we have until the end of the year I do not feel pressure to rush. I am sure that many families are also taking this time to make an informed decision. My only fear is that we will get great coverage through the ACA and then the Republicans will take it away.