Already the Affordable Care Act is benefiting millions of Americans and their families – with consumer rebates from insurance companies, ensuring children with preexisting conditions are no longer denied coverage, free comprehensive women’s preventive services, well baby visits, closing the Medicare prescription drug ‘donut’ hole for America’s seniors, ending lifetime limits, providing small employers with the Small Business Health Care Tax Credit, and more.
Now the ACA’s individual Marketplaces are up and running and providing American consumers looking for coverage a simple way to get affordable, quality health insurance that will meet their needs, their lifestyle, and their budget at any income level. In the first few weeks of the open enrollment period (which runs through March 31, 2014) nearly half a million applications for health insurance have been submitted nationwide. Here are a few of the success stories so far:
‘It’s a great deal.’
Salt Lake Tribune – Health exchange: Utah family gets coverage for $123 a month
After plugging in particulars about his family of five, the Salt Lake City business owner was able to compare 38 plans and apply for tax credits to put toward his monthly premiums. He settled on a silver-level plan from Altius that retails for about $850 a month.
After tax credits, the Sherburnes will pay just $123 a month.
“It’s a great deal. I’m thrilled to have coverage, period,” said Sherburne, who was previously shut out of affordable insurance due to a pre-existing condition, a shoulder injury.
Saved $5,000 a year
Right now Rakesh Rikhi pays $950 a month to insure himself, his wife and two children with Kaiser.
He came to the health trust in San Jose to get help determining if the new affordable care act truly will be affordable.
Rikhi was stunned to learn that through covered California he can get a similar Kaiser plan for his family for $400 less a month.
He quickly did the math and found he had just saved $5,000 a year.
Saving at least $13,000 per year
Butch Matthews is a 61-year-old former small business owner from Little Rock, Arkansas who used to wake up every morning at 4 A.M. to deliver canned beverages to retailers before retiring in 2010. A lifelong Republican, he was heavily skeptical of the Affordable Care Act when it first passed. “I did not think that Obamacare was going to be a good plan, I did not think that it was going to help me at all,” he told ThinkProgress over the phone.
But after doing a little research, Matthews eventually realized how much the law could help him. And on Tuesday, his local Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) provider confirmed that he would be able to buy a far better plan than his current policy while saving at least $13,000 per year through Arkansas’ Obamacare marketplace.
‘The coverage is better’
Covered California will not be releasing any enrollment figures until mid-November, but San Franciscan Paul Cello says he’s already in — and reports his new insurance will have better benefits, at lower monthly cost than the plan he’s on now…
He enrolled in a Blue Shield PPO plan with a $1,500 deductible and maximum out-of-pocket costs of $5,000. Because he qualifies for a subsidy, he’ll pay $178 a month, shaving more than $300 a month off what he pays now.
“It’s like a whole ‘nother world,” he enthused. “The coverage is better … a lower premium, no pre-existing condition exclusions, I get mental health coverage, so there’s way more coverage than I had and I’m going to be saving.”
‘Amazed and shocked’
Bryan Tackett, 33, was amazed at the choice of policies on the Washington, D.C., exchange. A contractor at a government relations firm, Tackett has been paying just under $400 a month for a Blue Cross Blue Shield plan with “not terrible, not great” coverage and a $1,500 deductible. But he enrolled in a gold Kaiser Permanente plan on the exchange that has no deductible and “good” co-pays. It includes dental benefits and an annual eye exam — all for about $270 a month.
“I didn’t think there would be that much of a differential between what the private market would offer me and what Obamacare would,” said Tackett, who is not eligible for a federal subsidy. “I was surprised, amazed and shocked, but pleasantly so.
Saved one Albuquerque small business owner $1,000 a month
Albuquerque Business First – Small biz owner: Health exchange will save me $1,000 a month
The New Mexico Health Insurance Exchange saved one Albuquerque small business owner $1,000 a month in insurance premiums Tuesday.
Michael Cadigan, president and owner of the Cadigan Law Firm P.C., said he signed up the firm’s four employees Tuesday for an insurance policy and got a quote that was $1,000 less a month than he’s currently paying.
“I was very pleasantly surprised. I thought it was going to be an administrative nightmare and it literally took me 15 minutes once I found everybody’s birthdates, Social Security numbers and ZIP codes,” Cadigan, a former Albuquerque city councilor, said…
“I thought this was going to be an all-day thing, so I had a Diet Coke handy, was well rested and I had a good lunch, and it was almost disappointing” that it was so easy.
Cadigan said he believes the large pools of people created by the Affordable Care Act might have led to his lower insurance premiums.
“The problem before was that small businesses couldn’t get a decent rate because there was no economy of scale for small businesses,” Cadigan added. “This [ACA] puts us all into one box.”
‘So much better than the policy before’
USA Today – 1st Delaware resident signs up for Obamacare
[Janice] Baker said she’s grateful for a chance to buy insurance on the marketplace. Previously, she had been paying $1,600 a month for a company insurance policy for her and her husband. But after her husband was approved for his own coverage, she had to find her own.
During her hunt, Baker was turned down three times because of what she called minor pre-existing health conditions. In the new marketplace, no one can be turned away because of a pre-existing condition.
In Baker’s new plan, she will be paying $700 a month for individual coverage, almost $150 less than the cost of her previous coverage.
That makes the wait on the phone and the frustrations online worth it, she said.
“I was thrilled to be able to have this happen,” Baker added. “This is so much better than the policy before. I was very impressed.”
Saved 50 percent over her current premiums
Atlanta Journal-Constitution – Amid the train wreck, signs of life?
Lissie Stahlman of Atlanta said that, using a combination of patience, luck and different platforms, she got all the way through the system late last week — after trying on and off for three weeks — and enrolled in a new plan. Stahlman, 60, says she saved 50 percent over her current premiums and cut her deductible from $5,000 to $2,500.
“Keep trying,” she said. “Be patient. If you encounter a glitch, give it a couple of days. My big advice is don’t bother with the chat folks. Go directly to the toll-free number. I called three different times and got through really fast each time. They seemed to be very knowledgeable.”
‘It will save me over $6,000’
Stryker is 34 years old and lives in Los Angeles, where he now does freelance work. He pays a monthly premium around $600 to stay on the COBRA plan from a job he left four years ago. He has high blood pressure and says insurance companies have previously denied his applications for coverage on the individual market…
“It’s a silver level PPO,” he says. “I did the research probably about a month ago, went through all the plans and compared them to my current one. I found one that I liked, so I signed up for that today.”…
“I’ve been watching the news about the government shutdown,” he says. “Obviously three hours is a long time to wait, but it will save me over $6,000. For that, I would have waited all day.”