My husband and I are sorta empty-nesters in our late forties, living in a Chicago suburb. I’m a substitute teacher, my husband is a used car wholesaler and our two children are in college. Our family is included in the 15% of uninsured Americans. So, I was eager to enroll my family in Obamacare but realized although I championed the cause, I didn’t know much about the program accept it continues to be a divisive issue. My number one concern was the cost, and as the family accountant, I had to get the facts.
The first thing I learned was the proper name. Although, it’s known as Obamacare; it’s actually called, The Affordable Care Act. On my first attempt at signing up for Obamacare; I mean, The Affordable Care Act, I was sent through a maze of confusing links and advertisements which caused me to yell a few unsavory words. After clicking on four incorrect links, I found myself at Healthcare.gov. You’d think it would be the first link in the search engine but it wasn’t. Once on the website, there were eleven detailed pages.
I continued on Healthcare.gov and was asked some preliminary questions to see if we were eligible for Medicade, we weren’t. But, with our $58,000 annual income, we were eligible for a decent credit, $481 per month. I learned there are four premiums packages available depending on how much coverage we wanted; the Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum. We’ll take the Platinum thank you very much. I was ready to sign up.
There were two choices; “Individual” and “Small Business”. I chose “Individual.” I entered our personal information but wasn’t sure if I wanted to include my children who are over 18 but under 26. My husband’s Type 2 Diabetes is a pre-existing condition but it doesn’t matter because we have “Obamacare”. I completed our profile, clicked the “next” button and waited eagerly for the premium costs, but got an “error” message instead. Ughh! The government shutdown was to blame I assumed. I was rerouted to http://getcoveredillinois.gov/explore-coverage-options/ but ran into the same “error” roadblock.
So, out of curiosity, I tried a popular insurance company; you know the one with the cross and the shield and the catchy TV jingle. I went through the same tedious questionnaire but this time finally, an estimate. The annual premium for the Gold plan for the four of us would be roughly $7k. It includes a $1500 deductible with $3500 individual out of pocket maximum for $583.13 per month. The Platinum premium with all the bells and whistles was an extra $500 per month. The premiums are reasonable but, honestly, I don’t want to pay it.
A couple of years ago we paid off our car loan and was enjoying the monthly excess. Taking the penalty is always option but I guess that would make us irresponsible. We have until March 31, 2014 to bite the bullet. Hope nothing happens while we procrastinate.