Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Woman in Washington State, touted as an Obamacare success story, is double-crossed by the exchange.

Just one day after a glowing report about how well Obamacare was working in states that ran their own exchanges, comes a disaster from Washington State.
  
The woman involved in Jessica Sanford, who was contacted at least twice by the exchange and told her premium would raise significantly, after processing errors, and then finally she was told her family wasn’t available for a federal tax credit.
  
She wound up with a “silver” plan of $390 a month, or “bronze” (with very high deductibles” for $324 a month. 
   
The CNN news story (here) doesn’t mention whether she lives in the Seattle area, or along the populated I-5 corridor, or in the rural interior where costs ought to be a bit lower. 
  
The single mother has a teenage son.  
I seem to remember paying about $30 out of pocket for my own premiums at ING in 2001.  RMA, where I worked a while (in St. Paul, MN) in 2003, offered employee-only insurance for $49 a month.  Generally, when I was at ING, people paid four or five times what single people paid for family coverage, with the employer picking up the rest.  While the employer offered family coverage (and started to do so for same-sex couples while I worked there), I don’t know how well it subsidized the premium for family members.  I remember hearing that some employees paid something like $300 a month out of pocket for complete family coverage. 
  
It seems that family coverage has always been very expensive.  It’s interesting to ponder in the individual market whether single males subsidize maternity care when they can’t possibly need it (where presumably they would in a family plan).  Perhaps my premiums did subsidize it, but if so, it probably cost me only about $2 a month then. 

I will add, as I have noted, that my plan was very good at getting the very best surgical care quickly when I had an accident in 1998.  I’ll also add that in my own experience, with both retiree health insurance and later with Medicare Supplemental from UHC, as well as prescription drugs, coverage has been very effective with no questions on claims.  

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