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.