I tried out the healthcare.org site and never managed to log in or raise anyone on "Live Chat," but I did get through on the telephone to a reasonably coherent live operator after a wait of about 20 minutes.  My principal question was whether I could qualify for any HHS-approved catastrophic (high-deductible) policies.  The answer, after some prodding, was no:  I'm not under 30 and I wouldn't qualify for the economic-hardship exceptions to the age limit.  I then asked whether I would be subject to the individual-mandate fine/tax/penalty if I kept my current high-deductible policy, and was assured that I would not be.  Apparently all I have to do is claim on my tax return that I have insurance, and the IRS will take my word for it that it's "insurance" within the HHS's view of what appropriate insurance must be.  Frankly, I don't believe a word of it, but we'll see when I file my tax return next year.

Obviously I'd pay the fine/tax/penalty rather than drop my high-deductible insurance.  My bigger concern is that Blue Cross will quit offering it at all, under pressure from regulators.  At that point, Obamacare will have succeeded in making me much more dependent on government largesse, because all my decades-long care to avoid a lapse in coverage will have been undone, leaving me with pre-existing conditions and an inability to find replacement coverage.

If the purpose of the law is to give me more empathy for people in the gut-churning position of losing insurance that, because of pre-existing health conditions, cannot be replaced, it's succeeding admirably.  In fact, Americans in all walks of life are learning what it means to lose health insurance that was serving them fairly well, all because of this brilliant and compassionate law.


Anonymous said...

Try again and you might have an experience like this one:

Texan99 said...

Two things. One, I'm not looking for ways to sponge off the federal government. Two, my insurance doesn't even cost $13,000 now, so I'd be hard-pressed to save that much by letting other people subsidize me.

I'll be pleased enough if the wonderful new Obamacare just keeps its mitts off the insurance I have and am content with for the price. I don't need "help" from these clowns.

Anonymous said...

Obamacare, like so much of the spending by this administration, is more about handing out lucrative contracts to friends of the administration than actually providing a benefit to the community.

In Chicago, this is called "dirty graft."

"Clean graft" is when you give contracts to your friends, AND THEY DELIVER.


Cass said...

I'm with Tex on this one. A person who objects on principle to a new program, but changes his mind when he finds out that he will gain financially from it, hasn't had his mind changed on the principles that drove his objection in the first place.

His greed has just trumped his principles.

This is nothing new in human history, nor is it unique to either party.

Cass said...

Oh, and by the way, I believe reasonable people can disagree about whether the ACA is sustainable in the long run, or whether it is moral to require healthy/young/affluent people to subsidize the medical expenses of less healthy/young/affluent people.

No one is forced to participate in a normal insurance market. If they value the peace of mind insurance buys them, they can *choose* to participate, or not.

They could also put the money such insurance would cost them into a high yield savings account against the possibility of a catastrophic medical condition.

But if (like many conservatives) your objection to the ACA is that it isn't sustainable in the long run from a budgetary perspective, or if you believe it is actually immoral to coerce people into paying for the lifestyle choices of others (or to force them to assume other people's risks), then the fact that you personally benefit from the ACA really should not be a consideration.

E Hines said...

I just tried the Texas "Exchange" (3/1032L Oct 13), and I got this:

We have a lot of visitors on the site right now.
Please stay on this page.

Well into Day 3, this affair is losing its "it's a first day spike" excuse.

I'm also beginning to see reports like the one in yesterday's MailOnline: Less than 1% of visitors are signing up for Obamacare on state health exchange websites.

Publication cycles and time zones being what they are, that article is mostly about 1 Oct. However, real time, I'm seeing a diminishing number of brags about the number of visitors to the Exchange sites around the country, and I'm seeing no brags about the numbers of folks actually signing up.

And those desperately needed young people? They seem to be staying away in droves. Who said our public education system is a failure? [/snark]

Eric Hines

Texan99 said...

And of course the question of whether Obamacare is sustainable is different from the question of whether the exchange website is competent. There shouldn't have been much doubt whether people would be interested in coming to a website that offered free stuff. If the exchange had worked brilliantly from a technical point of view and caused lots of freebies to be distributed as quickly as possible, that wouldn't have been an argument in favor of the sustainability of Obamacare. But it would at least have been an argument in favor of the basic competence of federal bureaucrats to meddle in something as complex as the health insurance market without catastrophically screwing it up.

Anonymous said...

Well, as of Dec 1 I'll be pushed into an exchange, since I'm not part of a group (so no Blue anything). From what little I've been able to learn thus far, I'd still be better off (dollar wise) paying the fine, since none of the policies offered cover my vision, dental, or orthopedic needs. And I still can't opt out of the OB and birth-control coverage as I once could. Grrrr.


E Hines said...

It's not a fine, it's a tax. CJ Roberts said so, when he rewrote Obamacare.

And the IRS (you remember those most trustworthy folks) are on record as saying they're not going to enforce the tax. No one is going to come knocking on your door to collect the vig.

Separate call as to whether actual "insurance" is worth it to you from a non-premium perspective.

Eric Hines