Friday, October 10, 2014

It's OK, I Can Keep My Doctor -- I Think

As an independent consultant, I do not have employer health insurance and am obliged to buy insurance as a private plan for "the Mrs." and me.  Although I would prefer that someone else pay a big chunk of it as an incentive for me to go work for them, I build a fraction of that into my consulting fee, such as I can and such as it is.

At the end of last year, I received a letter from my then-insurer informing me that they would no longer provide my plan after 2013 due to Obamacare, and that I would need to find a new plan.  I shopped around and found one from Aetna, a well-known company.  The plan was workable for two married adults; although it has a high deductible, it covered what we needed to have covered, and offered a very workable premium at $550 per month, $6,600 per year, not much more than 2013.  We needed to maintain our family physician, and he was under that plan.  Perfect.

Yesterday we received a nice surprise in the mail.  After 31 December, Aetna will no longer offer that plan, as it is not "good enough" to meet the part of the Obamacare law that reflects the fact that the White House apparently knows a lot more about the medical risks I'm willing to take than my wife and I do.

Let's get this on the table -- whatever one thinks about a law that is supposed to be about providing access to health insurance for people who don't have it, there was no reason that the Federal government needed to butt its nose into the insurance marketplace and tell people who were already adequately insured in their own eyes what level of insurance they should and should not have.

This piece has nothing to do with the "covering the uninsured" part of Obamacare.  There was no reason that the existing market needed to be regulated to impose a minimum level of coverage.  Americans are perfectly capable of taking on the level of medical risk they deemed best for their family.  If this was one of those great things that Nancy Pelosi meant when she told America we had to "pass the bill to see what's in it", well, we're going to differ right there.

The letter from Aetna provided the details of the 2015 plan they deemed closest to what we were already getting from Aetna.  It's called the ... oh, who cares what it's called.  The important thing is that if we were to take the plan they suggested, we would be paying Aetna $1,090.54 per month, a few bucks short of double what we are paying now.  In other words, solely due to the Nanny Effect of Obamacare, and their mistrust that my household's collective education is enough to decide what's good for us, we would pay Aetna $6,486.40 more in 2015 than we will have paid this year.

Since the plans of the various insurance companies for 2015 are mostly unavailable as of this date, I can't get much in the way of competitive quotes.  However, most companies have been able to provide estimates of their minimum plans for 2015 as non-firm quotes.  Some have been as low as $980 per month, which is still well over $5,700 more for 2015 than our household pays now.

But shoot, I can keep my doctor, probably.

Ironically, when the president goes out and proclaims the wonderment of his "signature legislative achievement", he does not speak to this.  Equally ironically, none of the additional payment we have to make does a single thing to provide medical insurance to people who didn't have it!  It is simply the result of the Nanny Effect of impulsive liberalism, the part that says how much more it knows than I.

Well, Mr. President, you went to Occidental College and always claim to be the smartest guy in the room; but I have a biology degree from M.I.T.  I can count, and I'm not so dumb that I can't decide what's best for my family.

And, oh, yeah, I can vote.  And plan to.

Copyright 2014 by Robert Sutton

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