•November 25, 2015•
By Trudy Lieberman
Rural Health News Service
Is health insurance really affordable? That’s the question thousands of Americans who signed up for policies under the Affordable Care Act are beginning to ask as third year open enrollment gets underway.
A few weeks ago a 63-year-old woman, a reader of these columns, contacted me about the health insurance policy she had bought through the Illinois exchange. She lost her coverage after her husband died and had been uninsured for nearly two years before Obamacare came along. She had some health problems and worried, she said, that she was “playing the odds.” She was just the person the law was intended to help.
Realizing she could lose everything if she had a serious illness, she signed up for a Blue Cross Blue Shield bronze plan, the kind with the lowest premiums and highest deductibles. Her monthly premium for the first year was an affordable $93 because her low income—about $25,000 a year working part time at an insurance agency---qualified her for a tax subsidy of $451.
The catch, of course, was the $6,000 deductible. She also had to pay the full price of her drugs, which didn’t count toward the deductible, although once other medical bills exceeded the deductible, drugs were covered in full. She didn’t use the policy because she didn’t “have $6,000 lying around” for some recommended tests. Read More