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Obamacare: The Plan That Keeps on Taking

| Opinion | October 31, 2019

by Rob Werner
Unless you’re covered by Medicare, an employer or rely on welfare, you’re stuck with Obamacare. Prior to Obamacare, my family always maintained health insurance. Despite the president’s promise that we could keep our insurance, it was terminated, and our only option was Obamacare.

One of its best, most affordable plans is Kaiser’s. As an HMO, you are restricted to its facilities and doctors for care. In the past, one could pay a flat rate for all its services, or have some relatively small co-pay for things like doctor visits – maybe $25.

People are reluctant to acquire medical insurance with an HMO, fearing they are motivated to delay treatment. Under Obamacare, this is not the case. If you subscribe to a bronze plan (the least expensive), you are advised constantly via recorded calls to seek medical attention.

During the last enrollment period, my wife’s monthly fee for this “bronze” insurance was $663.95. In Kaiser’s renewal statement, they announced for 2020 the fee is $686.21 per month, an increase of 3.4%. However, the individual annual deductible is raised from $6000 to $6900, which represents a 15% increase. So, the rate increase for 2020 is 18.4%. You might think, Well, this is an HMO, and it’s only a deductible, so it is not that important.

Kaiser is not the same old HMO. Under this type of Obamacare coverage, they charge premium fees – full fees charged by independent doctors and medical providers. Your copay is 100%. This means that every time you visit the doctor or receive a service, you are charged the full rate – usually hundreds of dollars coming from your pocket, in addition to the medical insurance premium.

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So, for this next year, should she have the need and be prepared to spend the money, my wife’s first $6900 of what Kaiser designates as the value of their service will come from our pocket. We’ve found that to save money, one can go to doctors outside the “insurance” who charge in cash substantially less than Kaiser does for most routine matters. Or, like some people, we just avoid going to doctors.

The good news is that if you have a catastrophic injury or illness, the treatment rates are so high that you will soon reach your deductible.

Kaiser must really support and love Obamacare, as it has done so much for them. My wife’s policy, before Obamacare caused its termination, was substantially less expensive than the policy it was replaced with. It was a PPO. She could choose her own doctors. It had a $2000 deductible and a 20% co-pay. That means she paid 20% of the cost of services and treatment until the deductible was reached, and 0% thereafter.

Prior to Obamacare, we referred to the bronze plans as catastrophic policies, and carried them for our college kids. Back then they cost less than $100.

It kind of makes you wonder what other “improvements” the government has in mind for our welfare. There should be a posted warning every time the government promotes a new service for us citizens: WARNING: GOVERNMENT PROGRAMS ARE INEFFICIENT AND HAZARDOUS TO YOUR FINANCIAL WELL-BEING!

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