In early February of this year we posted about our experience with Obamacare.
Affordable Care Act: The Verdict is in
As two people too young for government healthcare and with no employer healthcare coverage, we are in the group that Obamacare proponents always reference when talking about how good the program has been for the uninsured. We also had to use Healthcare.gov to obtain our insurance. So we are about as committed to Obamacare as any user could possibly be.
We described the bottom line back in February as follows:
"The good news is that my wife and I are now able to buy a healthcare plan with a $500 deductible. The bad news is that the annual premium is $10,200. before the ACA, we could have purchased a plan with identical coverage and a $3,000 deductible for an annual premium of $2,400. So we're paying an additional $7,800 per year to buy our deductible down by $2,500. Not a great deal."
In that February posting and in this August 2013 post (The Real Healthcare Scam), I covered how both Republicans and Democrats refuse to address the real cause of exploding healthcare costs: the refusal to address the monopolistic and anti-competitive pricing practices of the entire healthcare industry. Everyday, hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, doctors, and insurance companies operate their businesses in ways that would put the managers of any other industry in the US into jail for failure to comply with the nations anti-trust laws. Healthcare consumers in this country bear the burden for this lack of government oversight.
Effectively, all Obamacare has accomplished is make available insurance policies on structured exchanges at higher costs than before. I maintain that until these higher costs hit the employer provided plans, and most importantly, the medicare community, that there won't be much demand for change. Well now the other shoe has dropped and the new plans for 2015 are being rolled out. For us, we're seeing deductibles go from $500 to $10,000 for the same coverage. If we're willing to pay 50% of the costs (up from 0% this year) for all services (doctor visits, lab work, hospital visits, prescriptions, etc.) then we can drop our deductible to $250. That's great as long as we never use the $10,200 annual premium insurance.
So it looks like plans are keeping the premiums the same for 2015, but are drastically passing on the costs of using the insurance on to the policy holders. Alternatively, we could pay about 50% more in premiums ($15,000 annually) and keep our 2014 coverage levels.
Again, when this cost shift starts to happen in the employer plan and medicare markets it's hopefully game over. Maybe then the citizens of this country will start to wake up and demand that our politicians quit bowing to the largest lobby in the country and finally address the real cause of spiraling healthcare costs. I'm not holding my breath though.
In the meantime, we'll continue paying $10,200 per year for coverage that we will try our best to never use. That's when the real costs to us would kick in. Paying 50% of the cost for a criminally priced $40,000 hospital visit would be a real budget buster!