Live. Love. Harm no one. Help when you can. Be happy.
By: BriarCraft , 6:34 AM GMT on November 08, 2013
First, please note that this is NOT a political discussion. Whatever your feelings about it, the ACA is the law of the land and it is taking effect. Sort of.
Second, no pictures in this header. Sorry! I promise I'll go take pictures of something soon and come up with a more entertaining blog. In the mean time...
The Affordable Care Act aka ObamaCare has been in the news a lot lately, and for good reason. When it first passed into law, I couldn't see why we had to wait four years for it to take effect. Okay, so health insurance companies modify their policies and, presto-chango, it's done.
If you ever have been in doubt about the government's ability to complicate things, take a look at our tax code. As a former pro, I can truthfully say it drove me to retire early because it just kept getting more and more convoluted. Reading the Tax Code made my eyes cross trying to make sense of it. Then there is the funny-but-true adage, "To err is human, but to really foul things up you need a computer." And there you go.
My experience with the ACA so far:
I went to healthcare.gov back in August to check things out. Because Washington state is an active participant, I was redirected to WAHealthPlanFinder.org.
No real info was available in August or September. I decided not to take part in the initial deluge of queries the first few days in October. I waited until the 8th.
Creating an account and sign-in name was quite a challenge. I understand why. There is a lot of confidential information involved in this whole process; they need to make sure I am who I say I am. I was prepared for some security questions, but they presented me with some really insidious multiple-choice questions about where I used to live or what bank I used to use or when I applied for a car loan. They really got me to thinking and, frankly, I had to guess at one of the answers because the month and year I applied for a car loan was almost right, to the point that I doubted myself. Anyway, it took me 40 minutes to create an account and sign in with it. And I was brain-dead, so I quit for the day.
October 9, I went back to fill out the application and got stuck on about the 4th or 5th screen with an error. It said my tax filing status of married filing jointly was not the same as my spouse's. Huh??? I checked my marriage certificate and last year's tax return. Yep. DH is my spouse and we filed jointly.
I quit and went back a few days later to see if they had fixed the problem yet. Nor had they after 10 days. So I scanned our Form 1040 and submitted it securely through the WAHealthPlanFinder website. In the comment section I tried to explain the situation. Even though the comment section could supposedly take 500 characters, I was only allowed to type about half of one line. Try making an understandable explanation of the problem and proof being provided in 56 characters!
I periodically checked the website for the status of the submitted document and it indicated someone was verifying the information.
On October 31, I got a reminder letter that I hadn't finished filling out my application yet. Duh!
The website was down for the next several days, but when I finally got on, I saw there was still an error message on my application, but it was a different error now. I finally got rid of DH, changed myself to single, back to married, and re-entered DH. It took with no error message and I completed the application.
Now I can start looking at my options. Being in a rural county, my choices are Premera Blue Cross or Premera Blue Cross or an HMO whose nearest clinic is 54 miles away. Guess I'll go with Blue Cross. The annual stop-loss amounts are all the same. The differences are strictly in deductible amounts, co-pay amounts, and prescription coverage. Not much choice, but I'll deal with it.
Now I learn that the subsidy is actually a tax credit that you get on your yearly tax return, but you have the option of taking it monthly, in advance, to reduce your premium. The catch is that if your income turns out to be higher than you estimate, you will have to pay back some or all of the premium subsidy on your tax return. That could be a painful hit.
So, that's my experience so far. What about you?
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