From TPM Reader CP on our Real Lives series …
I don’t hear many people discussing the fact that you can enroll in the federal exchange via the 800 number and can bypass trying to fill out the application form on the web site. After hitting the glitches on the web site, I called the 800 number and got through right away. A very professional woman enrolled me and said I should be receiving the comparison charts for healthcare plans in the regular mail within two weeks. I called back a couple of times to double-check on that and to ask a question or two and immediately got through each time I called.
Even if I don’t receive the information as fast as they say I will, I’m still way ahead of the usual process I’ve gone through in the past, trying to get my health insurance set up. My husband and I are self-employed and have payed huge premiums for high-deductable plans with large co-payments, little coverage and all the rest. That’s partly because we live in Maine, a state with a lot of self-employed people and few corporations. The health insurance companies had little interest in a state like ours in the past. There was no competition. Even with few companies to choose from, it was a nightmare to try to make the comparisons each year.
I am very happy to try this out new system and get relief from the old system. And that is not even going into the true heart of the matter, which is our health. We have considered going without health care each year, but held on and paid the ridiculously high costs because of certain ongoing health problems. But we knew all along that if something serious were to happen, we would lose everything. Now that threat no longer hangs over our heads. That is a huge relief! Believe me, I am furious that anyone would want to go backwards now and try to take that away.
I have friends who have lived for years with no health insurance and consider myself a lucky person to have had it. And I well understand how lucky I am compared to many, many other people who have serious illness. I understand the discussions in the media do often include the human side, but yet so many of the politicians still appear to be so shockingly out of touch, it’s beyond words.