Obamacare Not Only Raising My Rates, But Making The Process Much Harder

On September 26 of this year, President Obama said this of the new Obamacare exchanges:

“If you’ve ever tried to buy insurance on your own,” he said, “I promise you this is a lot easier.”

Well, let's see.  Here are some notes on my previous health insurance buying decision

  • I was able to price shop policies online without creating an account, without giving up my social security number.  The websites to do so worked and operated quickly
  • A broker who had decades of experience in health care (rather than being a former Obama campaign worker with a few hours of training) walked me through the options and how they worked.
  • Once we chose a policy, the application process online was quick and easy

Here is one thing that was likely worse

  • I had to provide medical history information, which probably is not required under Obamacare because of community rating (though I am not sure)

And here is one thing that was better for me but I guess must be worse for the Left since they complain about it so much

  • There was a lot more choice.  If the process was "harder" in any way before, it was because there were far more choices.  It was harder in the same way that it is generally harder to shop in the US than, say, in the old Soviet Union.  Obamacare circumscribes policies such that a large package of benefits are mandated, not optional (I have to pay for mental health coverage and probably aromatherapy) and the size of one's deductible is capped.

It is also this latter difference that will make my next policy substantially more expensive.  In standardizing options, the Congress standardized on the most expensive options (broadest possible benefits, smallest possible deductible).

By the way, this is not proven yet but there is probably one other way my Obamacare policy will be worse than my last one:  the doctor network in my policy will very likely be a LOT smaller.  We could almost be sure this would happen precisely because Obama promised it wouldn't  (his promises on health care are pretty good "tells" that the opposite will happen).

  • Elam Bend

    I believe it's already been confirmed that prices in California were kept down by severely restricting doctor networks.

  • http://canfrancisbringmeback.wordpress.com/ ganganelli

    Wait. Wasn't it like just two posts ago you said you had very little income? My guess is that you'll pay substantially less for a policy that will be better. And, while you'll complain in the meantime, in the end you'll be happy you have it.

  • http://canfrancisbringmeback.wordpress.com/ ganganelli

    If you're in Arizona and you pick Healthnet they have a provider search here:

    https://www.healthnet.com/portal/providerSearch.action

    Plenty of choices for me.

  • Nehemiah

    Yep, Obama will just go out to the rose garden and pluck a couple of subsidies for you Warren. No problem-o. Money grows on trees, rose bushes and corn stalks at the white house. All good, all free to those who believe in the One.

  • http://canfrancisbringmeback.wordpress.com/ ganganelli

    Do you guys even want to have a substantive debate? The subsidies are paid for by increased taxes and lower payments for medicare services. Even the republicans had to admit that repealing Obamacare would INCREASE the deficit.

  • alanstorm

    "Do you guys even want to have a substantive debate?" Nice try. Can you justify anything you've said so far? I won't hold my breath.

    "My guess is that you'll pay substantially less for a policy that will be better." Justification?

    " The subsidies are paid for by increased taxes..." O h happy day! I know, back in '09, I was just sitting around HOPING my taxes would go up. I like nothing better than being robbed at gunpoint so that "more deserving" people can have my money. "...and lower payments for medicare services." And how many MD's ar going to actually provide care at these lowered rates?

    "Even the republicans had to admit that repealing Obamacare would INCREASE the deficit." PLEASE try to back this one up. The squirming and contortions should be entertaining.

    "Do you guys even want to have a substantive debate?" You're not prepared for one. All you have at hand is a lot of wishful thinking. On the other hand your faith in government would be touching...if it wasn't so naive.

  • Jess1

    Really? 'cause going to the link you provide & select "New Patients" for the State of Arizona yields:

    Showing 1-12 of 2753 listings
    2700 available physicians for a population of +6.5 million? Sounds, er, broken.

  • http://canfrancisbringmeback.wordpress.com/ ganganelli

    ""Do you guys even want to have a substantive debate?" Nice try. Can you justify anything you've said so far? I won't hold my breath." I can defend everything I've written so far.

    ""My guess is that you'll pay substantially less for a policy that will be better." Justification?"

    Our host says he will show little income in 2014. Subsidies are available for Obamacare on a sliding scale for up to 400% of the Federal Poverty Level

    "" The subsidies are paid for by increased taxes..." O h happy day! I know, back in '09, I was just sitting around HOPING my taxes would go up. I like nothing better than being robbed at gunpoint so that "more deserving" people can have my money. "...and lower payments for medicare services." And how many MD's ar going to actually provide care at these lowered rates?"

    I was responding to Nehemiah who said that the subsidies would be paid for by plucking them out of the Rose Garden. And whether you wanted increased taxes or not, the American people vote for the President twice. As Bush said, elections have consequences. I don't know how may MD's will provide care at those lower rates...my crystal ball is cloudy today.

    ""Do you guys even want to have a substantive debate?" You're not prepared for one. All you have at hand is a lot of wishful thinking. On the other hand your faith in government would be touching...if it wasn't so naive."

    I guess we'll find out. I believe that within a year you'll have a bunch of Republicans who are all saying things like "the exchanges were our idea, competition rocks, it's really Romneycare, etc." Time will tell.

  • alanstorm

    "I can defend everything I've written so far." I note you don't do so.

    "And whether you wanted increased taxes or not, the American people vote for the President twice." What's your point? I was already aware that just over half the population was too dumb to recognize a con man's BS. It WAS depressing to realize that they still didn't get it after 4 years.

    "Subsidies are available for Obamacare on a sliding scale for up to 400% of the Federal Poverty Level" And the money for this largesse comes from where...?

    " I don't know how may MD's will provide care at those lower rates..." And the point of health insurance if you can't get care is...what exactly?

    And then you end with another wishful thinking statement. You're still not prepared for a substantive debate. You likely never will be. On anything.

  • http://canfrancisbringmeback.wordpress.com/ ganganelli

    Quickly....

    The point is elections have consequences and the money for this "largesse" comes from increased taxes and cuts to Medicare. Those cuts to medicare by the way were kept in Paul Ryan's budget so I guess he's not too concerned that doctor's are going to close up shop. Finally, neither you or I have a crystal ball so your expectation that the law will fail and mine that it will succeed are both wishful thinking statements. If you're party gets it's ass handed to them again next year, you will know it has succeeded.

  • alanstorm

    Good God, you're dense.

    Your comment basically says "It's the LAW!", with a bit "Bush did it too!"

    No, I don't have a crystal ball, but I do have a brain and can see where previous government programs have led, and what happens when you alter money flows by government action.

    You have an incredibly naive view of government.

  • http://canfrancisbringmeback.wordpress.com/ ganganelli

    And here is the end of the road where all combox debates must end. We simply have two fundamentally different views of the government. But look on the bright side, if you're right you guys should do really well in the elections next year.

  • mlhouse

    ELECTIONS DO HAVE CONSEQUENCES. IN 2012, the same national elections that reelected Obama also elected a majority of GOP House of Representatives. Those GOP Representatives were all elected on an anti-ObamaCare position. So, by your own logic the consequence of the 2012 election at best demands a compromise solution and a very reasonable case canbe made that since the House is the only directly elected representatiion of The People, its will in legislation should have precedence over a national figure elected in a popularity contest.

  • Nehemiah

    "When arguing with fools, don't answer their foolish arguments, or you will become as foolish as they are." Proverbs 26:4

  • http://canfrancisbringmeback.wordpress.com/ ganganelli

    Great point. Here's an idea. Go tell that to Ted Cruz and convince him to shut down the government over Obamacare. It's the best strategy evah!

    By the way, in 2012 Dems won more than 1 million votes more than Republicans did in the House elections. Gerrymandering saved your ass last time. I don't think you'll be as lucky next year.

  • Nehemiah

    Right on alanstorm. Everyone is going to have free or highly subsidized health insurance. They just won't have anywhere to go to use it. Look at me, look at me, I have health insurance. Why won't a doctor see me?

    ganganelli, are you an academic? Government employee? Hippie artist?

  • http://canfrancisbringmeback.wordpress.com/ ganganelli

    I'm a network admin who buys insurance on the private market. Which, by the way, is why I'm very happy to have access to Obamacare.

  • LoneSnark

    Do you mean libertarians? Because I seriously doubt Coyote is much of a Republican.

  • http://canfrancisbringmeback.wordpress.com/ ganganelli

    Is there really a difference anymore? I guess you have some like McCain and Graham who wouldn't be considered libertarian but most of the GOP would describe themselves as such.

  • mlhouse

    LOL!!!!

    There is no such statistic as "1 million more votes" when you are considering House elections. There are many House seats held by Republican and Democrats that are uncontested. THere are many others were the incumbent is so strong that the opposition is marginal at best.

    Next, the Democratic vote count has an inherent bias to it in that in mostly conservative House districts there is always going to be some pockets of PAID Democratic constituencies: union government workers and teachers. On the other hand, most Republican constituencies have wisely abandoned the inner-city Democratic strongholds (i.e. low-information voters) that Democratic gerrymandering have created (largely to create districts that are minority only).

    Further, as you state, elections have consequences that are long lasting but you seem to ignore. The GOP has been much stronger in state races (mainly because it is not some celebrity contest). THey control the majority of state houses and thus get to change the electoral maps from being gerrymandered in favor of the Democrats to their advantage. But, you are not interested in THOSE CONSEQUENCES, are you??

    Lastly, the gerrymanderring argument is very overrated. There are ways to create the maps that can give you an advantage, but this is almost always done by surrendering something else. For example, putting all of the minority voters in a district is conceding that district to gain somewhere else. The maps can be drawn to give a slight advantage to a party, but with the exception of some of these very strange minority carve outs, most districts make reasonable sense geographically.

  • http://canfrancisbringmeback.wordpress.com/ ganganelli

    That's a pretty good argument actually. Dems will probably need to win by about 8 points next year to take the House and probably only about 1 point of that is due to gerrymandering.

  • mlhouse

    And there is virtually no way taht they are going to do that. The powers of incumbency (mostly supported by the Democrats and their campaign finance positions) and the lack of real swing districts make this a virtual impossibility.

    Any person who thinks otherwise has no objectivity. The policies you think are "popular" simply are not and the Democrats will not have the cover of a national election to help carry them.

  • http://canfrancisbringmeback.wordpress.com/ ganganelli

    There is precedent. The Dems swept to power in 2006 taking 31 net house seats with an 8 point electoral advantage. Current polling shows that they have about that lead right now. Will it remain that way? My crystal ball is cloudy but the Rasmussen poll that came out today shows McAuliffe crushing Cuccinelli and that doesn't bode well for the Republicans.

    http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/elections/election_2013/virginia/election_2013_virginia_governor

  • mlhouse

    But this aint 2006. And, the fact that McAulliffe is the Democratic candidate for governor is really a sad tale. That is the best the Democrats can come up with? My god. That the Republican is a worse candidate is not surprising.

    Regardless, the US House election is not until November 2014. In 2012 and a year that Obama carried Virginia, the GOP won 8 out of 11 House races and the lowest percentage of votes they carries was 53.8% in a single district. All of the other candidates, I think all incumbents, won with 55+% of the vote. I think those districts will be hard to swing back to the Democrats given the nature of the 2014 election.

  • Jess1

    Is there really a difference anymore?

    Want to know how I know you've not spent much time here?

  • http://canfrancisbringmeback.wordpress.com/ ganganelli

    Believe me, I'm not uncorking the champagne bottles yet.

  • Jess1

    News flash - local elections are, well, local. "Gross votes cast nationwide" has no bearing on a House race in Arizona.
    Not really a good attempt at deflection, either.

  • mlhouse

    If I were you I would not even buy the champagne..........

  • http://canfrancisbringmeback.wordpress.com/ ganganelli

    Guilty as charged. I just found this blog and plan to spend more time here so I'll learn.

  • http://canfrancisbringmeback.wordpress.com/ ganganelli

    I am aware. But if the Dems repeat their peformance of 2006 next year say hello to Speaker Pelosi. I admit it's a huge if.

  • MingoV

    When I was hired by the VA in 2003, there was a government web site showing all the insurance options (something like 32). I did not have to complete an intrusive survey to access the site (though it did require user ID). The site was reasonably well-designed, it grouped plans by type, it allowed side-by-side comparisons of the features of multiple plans, and it explained how to use a medical savings account with a high deductible plan.

    I believe that the Obama administration 'overlooked' it because it was developed during the Bush years.

  • Jess1

    And the R party swept to power in States & House in 2010's blowout. It's called elections...

  • Harry

    Great piece, Coyote. From the comments, there are some readers who along with you pay for health insurance for themselves, though I am perplexed with some commenters' enthusiasm for socialized medicine. Real money does not grow on trees; on the other hand, you can make paper money out of trees, or, if you are progressive about it, you can make trillions of it with a few keystrokes and the right password, but I digress.

    The Affordable Care Act has relied on deception from the start, sold by political used car salesmen, who ask you to admire the whitewall tires and disregard the paint job over the rust spots on the body, and the gray smoke coming out of the tailpipe. Here they say you might even get a subsidy for this Yugo, this 1957 Plymouth, this 1973 Gremlin, this Edsel.

    We have kicked the whitewall tires, and the edge of our shoe is white. The ashtray is empty, but the inside smells like a shot and beer joint's Men's room. For this you can buy the car for an unrevealed amount of money.

  • Bob Olden

    Nothing about Obamacare makes any sense to me.
    --that all Americans ought to have "quality health care" (whatever that means), therefore it is possible and even necessary to do it (?)
    -- that people with pre- existing conditions can be insured and yet insurance costs will go down (?)
    --that any program of the Federal Government will cost what they estimate (?)
    --that young Americans will pay for insurance when it's cheaper to pay a fine (tax) at the end of the year (?)
    --that anybody will be held accountable for all the promises that will never come to pass.

    I could go on and on.

  • Nehemiah

    2006, 2nd term Republican President pushes House to dems. 2014, 2nd term Democrat President nearly assures House remains with repubs. And generally the President's party also loses Senate seats in the second term mid-terms. I see political slippage for the dems in 2014 assuming Obama doesn't suspend elections under marshal law, naw he'll say that play for 2016. Just kidding, I threw that in for my tin foil hat friends.

  • Jess1

    Brings to mind the line about wrestling pigs...

  • Elam Bend

    That's all the doctors that work with the Insurance company, not all the doctors that work within individual health plans, those ARE being restricted. Also, unless you have a pre-existing condition, your insurance will be going up in price due to mandated coverage and other issues. The premiums may stay the same, but that will come at the trade-off of much higher deductible.

    Outside of that, I'm surprised that you expressed joy at the access to Obamacare. I've bought on the individual market for years both as an individual and now as a family and it is those of us that do who are going to take the biggest beating in terms of price rises and limitations in network/higher deductibles. People on employer plans are going to see some of that hit absorbed by their employer (but later paid for by decreased raises).

    My insurance company has also cancelled my plant due to insufficient coverage (mostly to add stuff I don't need or some other technical changes). Now the options they offered me have similar premiums, but to do that the options either a) severely increase the [already high] deductible, b) Limit the previous network coverage, or c) limit coverage [i.e. keeping the stuff that ACA must have but taking away coverage I wanted. If I do nothing, they'll roll me over to option (a). If i want to choose an option not among the three I offered (for instance, one more analogous to my previous plan in coverage AND deductible), I"ll have to reapply.

    One more point that sort of germain, the real action in Obama care is not in the individual market, that's only 5% of all insurance (most still get it through their employer). The big action is the increase in medicaid.

  • LoneSnark

    LoL. As Republicans are constantly trying to marginalize libertarians as traitors, I'm pretty sure most of the GOP would be offended to be smeared as a libertarian. I guess you also think most of the DEMs would be fine being called Communists?