Los Angeles Business Journal

Obamacare’s Doctored Coverage

OP-ED: Individual payer finds pricey policies and few choices on California’s health care exchange website. By Steve Duchesne Originally published October 7, 2013 at midnight, updated October 7, 2013 at 12:39 p.m.

Midlevel silver plans and upper-tier gold and platinum plans offered lower out-of-pocket costs, but considerably higher monthly premiums, putting them out of reach.

Self-employed

As one who is self-employed, I don’t have the luxury of employer-provided insurance. Since 2004, I have purchased health insurance on the individual market and every year or so, I managed premium increases (of no more than 20 percent) by moving to higher-deductible plans with less robust benefits.

I am not complaining, nor am I looking for sympathy. The plans my family has had over the years have protected us against catastrophic illness and injury, and little else. And that’s been fine.

Under Obamacare, however, there appears to be no alternative to significantly higher premiums and out-of-pocket costs. If we want insurance, we will have no choice but to shop through the exchange.

The new normal at our house could mean living without health insurance, which would result in penalties at tax time. In the meantime, we’ll take our chances that we won’t get sick or hurt.

We’ll stash a few bucks in a health savings account and pay as we go to the doctor. If, heaven forbid, my wife or I receive a cancer diagnosis, we’ll go straight to the exchange since carriers will be prohibited from denying coverage because of pre-existing conditions. How’s that for a perverse incentive created by a flawed law?

Back in January, the Anthem representative could not predict Obamacare prices, but now we know. And the more we learn about the Affordable Care Act, the less affordable it becomes. It’s open season on individual health insurance consumers.

Steve Duchesne is a public relations consultant. He lives in Redondo Beach.

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