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socks and cat

I don't understand the new health care bill

I'm very confused by the new health care bill that just passed. Of course I wanted health care reform. But I also learned the hard way already when my monthly insurance rates were just raised to $409 per month that when a law forces something on insurance companies the insurance companies have to raise our rates the pay for that change. And the new change that is about to go into effect is that insurance companies are no longer able to deny insurance to people with pre-existing conditions. So if some one finds out they have cancer, I guess they can just go and sign up for some insurance and the insurance company can then pay the thousands and thousands of dollars to treat the cancer. And guess where they are going to get those thousands of dollars. From the premiums of people like me. So I fear this new health care bill means my $409 a month health insurance will go up to $450 or more to pay for this.

My feeling lately has been that I should just take a huge risk and go without health insurance for about 4 months or 5 months and then get some insurance again after that. That would save me about $2,000 this year. But then I found out the new health care bill would fine me for dropping my insurance, even just for a few months to try and make up the money the bill itself will inevitably cost me.

Some one please tell me if I am understanding the new bill incorrectly. Did they just screw the middle class self employed to benefit the middle class with regular jobs and all the folks without jobs? And why don't I deserve affordable health care like the rest of the country will get with this new law??


yes, we all just got screwed.
With an increased ability to shop for insurance plans, an exchange, and controlling the costs of medical costs??

Oh yeah...you'll just be suffering...
good article. Thanks for the link
Actually, that's one of the points that's most important to keeping premiums down - because of fairly healthy people bail on insurance, then the premiums for the insurance (which after all will now only be covering sick people) are going to be really high. The more healthy people who are signed up, the lower costs will be for everyone.

Sadly, this kind of monkeying with coverage, while important, doesn't address a lot of the core reasons why medical expenses in this country are so darned high (and yet why we get crappier coverage than many other countries - and longer waits and poorer outcomes, too.)
"The more healthy people who are signed up, the lower costs will be for everyone."

This is a huge point. Also with preventable care being more affordable under the changes to Medicare, fewer large claims will occur with that population. A trip to the ER is more expensive to an insurance company than a trip to a GP for preventative and routine diagnostics.
Yes, you are missing the mandate portion of the bill. Uninsured individuals are required to purchase health insurance. This will prevent them for waiting to opt in when they get a major diagnosis. There will be subsidies for low-income families, probably not enough, but some. This bill is a starting point like the Civil Rights Act and Social Security were.

Now we have to get Washington State to join with as many other states as possible to make a multi-state market place to increase competition as much as possible. That will also help drive down costs.

Also finding a way to get a non-profit insurance company in that market place would be great.

So maybe there is hope of getting affordable insurance in my old age? Because as my age rises, my premiums go up. Maybe all this could happen in the next 10 to 15 years?
None of this will go in effect right away anyway. But from what I have read I don't think you are going to be screwed. You will be required to have insurance or pay a fee of what I believe is 95 dollars a year in 2014 and then it goes up from there.

I think it will help you because the plan has a rate limit cap and a lot of restrictions on bad behavior that insurance companies could do in the past.

I need to do more reading, but so far it looks like a good first attempt. The actual bill is like 2400 pages so it's a lot of reading.
If you can afford it, then it is affordable. Still trying to learn about this bill myself.
Keep in mind my income varies. In December we have no income for the last 3 weeks of the month. The only reason I can afford health insurance in December is because I save for it all year. But when you own your business you don't have a standard rate of pay so how can you qualify some one as being able to "afford it"? If I'm paying my bills on savings can I afford it just because I had the forethought to save? And how does forethought qualify as income?
That is very useful. Thanks!


I, for one, like that the insurance companies can't deny you coverage because of pre-existing conditions. I may have a pre-existing condition and if in 6 months when my current insurance runs out (I'm paying for cobra) and I am not working, then currently my chance of getting coverage, if it turns out I have MS, will likely be zero. And the drugs they put you on to prevent MS from getting worse cost thousands of dollars a month. Either way if I have MS - as it is now, I am screwed. My options at that time might be sell everything, use up my savings, max out my credit card and then as an indigent I might be able to get someone else to pay for it. Or not take the drugs and face MS getting worse. I can hope I have a job with some sort of health insurance by then, but in this current job climate I can't count on that.

Also, if you drop your health insurance for any reason and don't have coverage for a period of time then the insurance companies can, and will, refuse to cover you or charge you a lot more if they do. Before you consider doing that talk to your agent (if you have one) about it.
A excerpt from a Newsweek article that seems to address exactly what you're asking:

What about for self-employed people or small-business owners who typically buy insurance plans on their own?
The plans that are available in the health exchanges will be particularly good for people buying insurance on their own. They will offer much more predictable policies. Right now, it's hard to figure out what you're buying. What you get is a general summary from the insurance company that's too complicated to follow, and often, you may find out at just the wrong time that the policy does not cover chemotherapy, and you have cancer. These exchanges and the federal government will set a minimum standard for insurance policies, so that all plans must comply with the minimum benefit. For people who want to start their own businesses, the market will transform from night to day. It will make the Wild West of health care much tamer. If I lost my job, or maybe become employed by firm that does not offer insurance, I can always go to the health-insurance exchanges and get insurance at a fair price. There will still be a number of different levels of coverage, but when I say "fair price," I mean that the insurance companies can't charge you more based on your health status or your older insurance claims—though they will charge higher prices if you're a smoker.

Oh - and the other bit that stood out as something you might be interested in (from a different article):

In 2011, your employer will tell the government, and you, what it costs to provide you health insurance. It'll be on your W-2. In 2018, they'll start taxing expensive health plans.

This is pretty cool, really - because up until now, there's been a big divide between people who have health insurance through their jobs, where it's kind of an invisible benefit, to many - and people like you who are paying through the nose to buy insurance for themselves (and who generally can't get as good a deal. Now, people are going to start first finding out how much their insurance costs - a lot of people really don't know - and then for those with the really high end deals, it's going to be taxed like any other kind of compensation.
They didn't just screw the self-employed middle class, they screwed the entire middle class. And the people who saved their whole lives to allow themselves to still be able to eat while on Medicare. They f-d us all for the unemployed sh!tbums who won't get off their a$$es and work so that THOSE people can have health insurance that WE hardworking people are paying for.
Thank gawd the majority doesn't feel like this. Unemployed shitbums? Seriously? I hope you don't work in customer service or social work. And I hope you have the blessing of losing your job so you know what it feels like.... Knock your high-horse down a level or two. It might help you grow as a person and expand your mind a little. Maybe even help you find some compassion. Sounds like you need a chill pill. LOL Seriously though, if you've paid any attention, jobs are being cut. There are less jobs. Get a grip on reality. You could be next.