Obamacare Is A Net Positive For Early Retirees And The Underemployed

Affordable Care ActWe appreciate our health the most when we are sick. I certainly appreciate my health now because I’ve currently got a sore throat from probably too much sailing in the Bay this past weekend. The wind regularly picks up to 25 mph and makes the temperature on the water feel like 50 degrees instead of 70-80 degrees.

The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) goes into effect October 1, 2013 if Republicans in the House fail to block the movement. Republicans will probably fail since Obamacare has already been given a thumbs up by the Supreme Court, but hold on for some potentially massive pain as I indicated in my newsletter the other week, recommending readers reduce stock positions and buy bonds when the 10-year yield was at 2.85%-2.9%.

As someone who retired 31 years before being able to receive Medicare at the age of 65, you might think I’m worried about health insurance. Health related problems is the number one reason for bankruptcies in America after all. But I wrote a thorough post in the spring of 2013 entitled, “Cheap Health Insurance Options For The Unemployed, Self-Employed, Or Early Retiree” that goes on to explain our options: COBRA, Spousal Health Insurance, Parental Health Insurance, and eHealthInsurance.com, the largest online market place for health insurance plans based right here in the Bay Area.

I’m as skeptical about the government as anyone, but now that Obamacare is going into effect, the options for heathcare are theoretically even better. For those who are seeking financial independence, who are early retirees, or who are just trying to save money to get by, let me argue why Obamacare is a net positive for America.

HEALTH CARE FOR ALL

The fundamental premise for the Affordable Care Act is that no person should suffer catastrophic financial loss or die just because he or she cannot afford healthcare. Genetic diseases and car accidents don’t discriminate between rich or poor. Those with pre-existing medical conditions will now be able to get coverage. Young adults are able to stay on their parent’s insurance plan through their 26th birthday. Insurance companies cover preventative care such as flu shots, physicals, mammograms, and vaccines. These are all good things.

I am 100% behind health insurance for all even if it costs me more to help subsidize someone else. Unlike trying harder to make more money, it’s very difficult to try harder to fight a drunk driver who runs you off the road and breaks your legs.

The main concerns about the Affordable Care Act are several fold: 1) Rising premium costs for healthy individuals to support less healthy individuals, 2) Overcrowding and longer wait times, and 3) A distaste for the government forcing individuals to get insurance even if they don’t want insurance.

LOOK ON THE BRIGHT SIDE

1) Eat More Of What We Love: I’ve got a safety net to eat more unhealthy food I love such as steak, lemon meringue pie, chocolate fudge sundaes and cheeseburgers. I also won’t feel as bad for not working out 3-4X a week anymore. For the past 12 years since leaving NYC, I’ve been trying to stay in shape because the stress of working on Wall St. was already high enough. I needed to be in the best shape physically and mentally to do my job. Now that I’ve got Obamacare, I can definitely let myself go more. The bonus is that maybe I get to save money on premiums because I slide into the average fitness category, or I get more of my money’s worth because I’ll be seeing the doctor more for checkups and drugs.

2) The Market Is Efficient. People are fooling themselves if they think people who really need or want the best healthcare are going to accept overcrowding. The free market will kick in where doctors will charge more for concierge service to meet demand for better care. My own doctor I’ve seen for 13 years started his concierge service where he provides 24/7 consultation (gives members his private mobile phone number for off hours) and weekend visitations (normally shut on the weekends) for an extra $1,500 a year. Meanwhile, it’s better to wait to see a doctor if you have a problem than not be able to see the doctor at all for those who were once without health insurance.

3) The Government Already Controls Everything. Paying monthly health insurance premiums when you are just trying to make ends meet is painful. I have numerous friends in the food, art and online business industries who don’t have health insurance because they are young, feel healthy, and don’t want to pay an extra $200-$300 a month since they are making less than $2,000 a month. The problem is that it is vital for all of us to at least get disaster prevention insurance because these are the people who enter an unending cycle of poverty if something bad happens. The Affordable Care Act offers discounted premiums for individuals making less than $28,725 a year and families of eight (!) or less who make under $99,075 a year. The government already throws us in jail if we don’t pay tax rates that are unilaterally decided by them, so we might as well pay for something that might save us from poverty.

You can choose to look at the negatives of Obamacare, or you can choose to embrace the inevitability. You’ll be much happier in the long run if you do because fighting omnipotence will only get you squashed.

NEW HEALTH EXCHANGES STARTING: BRONZE, SILVER, GOLD, PLATINUM

Americans under 65 can now elect to buy their health insurance through health exchanges online in their state come October 1, 2013 (see healthcare.gov). Californians, for example, can get a Bronze monthly plan for $278/month, while folks in Wyoming have to pay the most at around $425/month according to the US Department of Health And Human Services. If you happen to live in Kansas, Oklahoma, Minnesota, Tennessee or Maryland, you’re paying less than $200/month on average per person. Not bad at all!

But again, if you are one of the millions of Americans who never had to pay health insurance premiums because you elected not to have health insurance, you might not necessarily be happy now that health insurance is the law. At least you’re getting something, unlike taxes which go to a black hole that funds wars and shady infrastructure projects.

Economics-wise, we are theoretically improving the fiscal health of our health care system by forcing the uninsured to pay health insurance premiums. 30 million Americans paying $200 a month equals an extra $72 billion dollars a year which can be used to cover emergency care that’s already being provided. However, who knows how much more abuse or moral health hazards will result from everybody now having more insurance.

THE MARKET WILL SMOOTH OUT THE WRINKLES OF OBAMACARE

It’s always scary to have the government mandate and meddle in our lives, especially when it comes to our health. Their intentions may be perfectly good, but they always find a way to mess things up due to bureaucracy, greed, and red-tape. A great example is the government regulating Wall St bonuses. By limiting the amount of bonus money that could be paid out in cash, Wall St. simply raised base salaries by 70-100%!

I’m scared of the inefficiencies of Obamacare, but I believe the free market will help blunt inevitable problems. Health insurance companies will have to compete on price and quality with these new exchanges or die. The more competition there is, the lower the price and better the service all else being equal. If people want to pay for better access and service, then there will be options that allow people to pay more and vice versa. If competition gets too fierce, insurance companies will go out of business and new subsidies will come into play.

Just look at “Communist” China. The free markets have overwhelmingly crushed the ideology of Communism by producing the fastest number of new millionaires and billionaires in the world. I’ve been to China over a dozen times since 1997 and I can tell you first hand the wealthy are living large. We cannot squash the desire for more, nor can we eradicate rational people. Have faith things will work out for the better.

You should shop around for tailored health insurance quotes for yourself or family by visiting eHealthInsurance.com. They started in 1997 and partner with over 180 health insurance companies operating in all 50 states. Given they are the largest online health insurance provider, they have the most competitive rates. The Affordable Care Act has proven to be a debacle with higher rates than expected and a very cumbersome application process. The private sector is the more efficient way to go in my opinion. 

Regards,

Sam

 

 

 

Sam started Financial Samurai in 2009 during the depths of the financial crisis as a way to make sense of chaos. After 13 years working on Wall Street, Sam decided to retire in 2012 to utilize everything he learned in business school to focus on online entrepreneurship.

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Comments

  1. says

    I’m quite excited for Obamacare because it will force insurers to cover me since I have a genetic preexisting condition. I think it will be good for innovation because more Americans will feel freer to pursue their passions. We’ll see

  2. says

    As a non-American i know little about the health care system there beyond the stereotyped American way of ‘user pays’ and if you don’t have the money… tough.

    Do you know of any good links that neatly explains the current system and intended new system under obama-care?

    In Australia the public health care system is state funded. Hence its available to all. Prescription medication is subsidized as well allowing it to be cheaper for those who are least able to afford it.

    There are a few downsides as it’s more open to abuse by companies charging higher fees for medication as the end user doesn’t pay much. Alos, for non emergency procedures the waiting times can be years – forcing people to put their names down on the list on the ‘off chance’ that they will need it in a few years – exacerbating the problem for those in real need.

    For those who want better care you can still get private.

    • says

      That’s the thing. Folks who want better care can always go private and pay more. Not sure why folks think Obamacare is going to be the end all of quality care for existing customers.

      I don’t have a good link to explain our system. We basically pay monthly premiums for one plan out of many we can choose from, use co-insurance or co-pay, and hope for the best. We all need to have some basic coverage to prevent disasters.

      • Graham says

        Keep this in mind for people who compare the USA and Canada – Canada only has public hospitals. Not a single private hospital in the entire country. Australia has a dual public private model. The USA should be comparing against Australia, not Canada.

  3. says

    I’m really interested in seeing the comments for this as I’m planning on becoming a freelancer and health insurance has always been a big factor that has held me back. I feel like Obamacare will address some of my concerns but I’m not convinced.

    • moshennik says

      How did Obamacare address these concerns for you? You could always go to insurance companies as an individual and buy insurance. Unless you have some expensive pre-existing conditions you were much better of before Obamacare in doing so.

  4. Austin says

    The burden placed on business will likely lead to a single payer system, either de facto or de jure.

    I spoke to an HR director recently. As of a month ago she had no idea what the implications were for the benefit plans offered by her company. The assumption was that premiums would increase. The delay of the employer mandate added another question mark for her to contend with. Over time companies will probably begin to alleviate themselves of these increased costs and complexities. Unions don’t want anything to do with it because the increased labor costs of their members is not competitive with the labor costs of non-unionized workers.

    I recently hired a household employee. She doesn’t have healthcare and I feel for her. I immediately looked into providing her with healthcare but then I thought, I’ll just wait and see what our/her options are under obamacare. I have no idea. Perhaps I could still receive a tax credit by paying at least half of her premium on a policy from an exchange?

    At the end of the day, health care reform should have been matched with federal tort reform. This would have been potent for the nation and perhaps made the pill easier to swallow for republican lawmakers. Still, I see a federal government that thinks the answer to a sinking postal service is an increase in stamp prices.

    • says

      You hit the nail on the head. Nobody really knows how this thing plays out. We know how private exchanges work, and that’s what we’ll go through for the foreseeable future. I bet everybody takes a wait and see mode bc of massive skepticism.

  5. says

    I hope it works too! It’s impossible to meet everyone’s wishes but one thing is sure and that is we need change. Nobody deserves to get sick or be denied coverage due to a preexisting condition. I hope things go well. We need a healthier country!

  6. Retire by 30s says

    Well just found your website and can’t believe there is a blog dedicated to intense focus on retirement (no idea where else to leave this comment). The typing style alone is a hardcore ex-wall street guy no doubt. Will try following in your footsteps!

    No where near the gains you’ve made but certainly well ahead of the “above average person”.

    Hope to see you on the beach in my 30s as well

    -signed another person trying to survive Wall St

  7. says

    I like Obamacare. It will be able to get coverage for my mom now.
    For me, it’s not too bad because I’m on my wife’s plan. She is planning to retire early too so in 12 years we’ll have to buy our own insurance.
    Everyone deserve to have healthcare.

  8. says

    I am looking forward to it if only so the debates about the unknowns can end. The overcrowding/not enough doctors seems to be the most common thing I hear from my friends who oppose. IMO – if we can get people to flock to North Dakota to work on an oil rig, we can certainly crank out a few more doctors or PAs to handle the increased demand in healthcare. Personally, if I have to pay a little more or wait a bit longer to see the doctor to know that everyone has the same right to do so, I’m perfectly OK with that.

  9. Tiffany says

    Can you expand on this? “hold on for some potentially massive pain as I indicated in my newsletter the other week, recommending readers reduce stock positions and buy bonds when the 10-year yield was at 2.85%-2.9%” I get your newsletter and noticed similar comments there as well.

    • says

      Sure. Flight to safety during volatile times. Markets were at their highs two weeks ago and no good comes out of these showdowns. 10-year yield has now fallen to 2.6% as of 10/2, meaning investors have indeed bought up treasuries for safety, making investors of IEF money int he process

  10. Jon says

    My goal is to be able to retire by 40, don’t know if I’ll make it by then, but that is the goal. Of course, one of the major hurdles I will face achieving that goal will be my health care coverage.
    But, in my opinion, it is incredibly selfish to utilize other people’s taxes in order to achieve my dream. That’s what subsidized health care is – other people’s money. Nothing is free and I personally believe that if I work hard and save correctly, I will be able to retire twenty years before “normal retirement age”. Awesome. But I should be rely on anyone else to make that selfish dream come true. That means other people are stuck in their cubicles, or worse- on the side of the road, working their tails off on a construction site, paying into the system so I can drink cervezas on the beach? Not the America I want to be a part of. If I achieve the financial independence I desire it needs to be because I have earned it, and I am not reliant, or a burden, to anyone else.

  11. nbsdmp says

    I struggle with this one. As a person who is financially independent and could retire at anytime, it seems like a nice concept to be able to retire and lay my burden on the government and other tax payers. Not to sound all overly important, but as a small company owner, if I do retire, some people would also lose their jobs…most would find work elsewhere, but not all. I don’t think we “deserve” anything just because we were born in the USA anymore so than a child born in India/Africa/China. As a person who has gone out and done it for myself, I kind of feel like the whole survival of the fittest makes a society and a country strong. Should we help our elderly and children, yep of course, I just personally see so much waste everywhere in government it is difficult to imagine this really working. It reminds me when people were saying “everyone deserves to own a home”…uh, we saw how that worked out…people don’t deserve things they earn them. When I watch Nancy Pelosi over the weekend over and over say how there is nothing left to cut in the budget I wanted to puke…really, how could an intelligent person say that and honestly believe it. Some day people will realize we cannot spend our way out of debt…ugh

    • says

      But Nancy Pelosi is worth mega millions. She can afford to speak her mind.

      Obamacare is not free. Early retirees with no spouse still have to pay healthcare premiums. The young or healthier will always subsidize the old and or less healthy.

      • nbsdmp says

        We all a right to speak out minds, I just have a hard time being a responsible person who gives a lot more than they take hearing somebody say that government has already been cut to the bone & their is no waste left to cut out. Ugh…what a system we have.

        I totally agree in principle to help the old and those who cannot help themselves. It will be interesting to see how this all shakes out. I can tell you first hand that over the 24 months in anticipation of this happening we have shifted our significant portion of our workforce to part-time, with no benefits at all. Honestly it caused us to rethink portions of our business, now we employ significantly less full time people, our profits are up substantially because of this and other moves. This will happen everywhere…the people with true business sense that understand how to make money will adapt & overcome, the problem is that this “change” Obama is so steadfast in passing is hurting a lot of the people who already had a good thing going…it sort of sucks.

  12. mysticaltyger says

    The real agenda with Obamacare has nothing to do with making health care / health insurance more affordable or accessible. It may or may not achieve those ends (although I admit to being skeptical). The real agenda is centralizing power and control. It’s one more example of the totalitarian tiptoe.

  13. says

    When it’s cheaper to travel to a foreign country for medical care, our system is broken.

    When it’s cheaper to pay cash for procedures rather than use your medical insurance, our system is broken.

    When you can’t obtain medical insurance coverage due to pre-existing conditions, our system is broken.

    I only see the ACA solving the last one. I’ll get more excited when the first two are solved.

    • David M says

      Jack,

      Great comment!

      We pay more than twice as much as percent of GDP than the next highest country and by far we do NOT have the healthiest citizens in the world.

      Keep,or get rid of obamacare – I do not care! What we need to do is decrease the cost of healthcare in America!!!!!!

  14. Stevo says

    I’m not for Obamacare. Sure I would like to see everyone have health insurance. The sad fact is, I know people who complain they cannot afford health insurance while ordering their cable TV providers NFL package on their hundred-dollar-a-month Iphone. I would rather these people choose to prioritize their health care over such luxuries. Am I wrong for calling cell phones a luxury? Have they not also been deemed a “right” with the advent of Obama phones, subsidized by taxpayer dollars as well?

    When will government intervention in our lives end? Owning a firearm is also a “right”, a right that is actually written into our constitution. “Dear government, please make me buy a Browning automatic 270 with a variable Redfield scope. And if I am under a certain income level, subsidize me baby!”. I want to go deer hunting.

    I received a letter from my insurer last March informing me of a 50% rise in my annual premiums. To make it sweet, my deductibles also went up. The letter cited the ACA as the reason for these changes. Thus began my love affair with Obamacare. I recently put my data into an Obamacare online calculator. I am not eligible for a subsidy because of income level. Let’s see. I pay more under the affordable care act. No subsidy for me. Millions of others get the benefit. Sounds like income redistribution.

    I think people in general would like to see their fellow Americans have health insurance, we just don’t trust our government burocracy to craft it. Like Warren Buffet said, scrap it and start over. The small taste I’ve had of this plate of Green Eggs and Ham tastes like poo.

    Steve.

    Las Vegas.

    • says

      A 50% increase is steep! I wonder whether insurance and employers are using Obamacare as an excuse to raise premiums to make more money while actually not incurring higher costs? I bet there is some of it those smart folks.

      If folks are for raising taxes on the wealthy to help the poor, why not raise premiums on the healthy to help the less healthy? We’ll all be the same!

  15. says

    I think the main point is that it will make pay people who are uninsured (and still don’t mind to be taken care of when shit happen…)
    And the bonus of giving possibility of healthcare to those who couldn’t.
    Since I’m living in a country with quite expensive healthcare (in invisible cost) and cheap to use, the main benefit I see is that people will stop being so afraid of their health.
    And the country will get more decent healthcare stats compared to other civilized country :)
    Here are some numbers (I made a whole post about it, but few numbers are worth a long explanation)
    Comparison Belgium vs USA (taken from OECD official stats)
    Health expenditure in % of GDP 10.5% 17.6%
    Number of physicians per 1000p 2.9 2.4
    Number of nurses per 1000p 15.1 11
    Hospital beds per 1000p 6.5 3.1
    Infant mortality rate, deaths per 1000 3.5 6.1

    • David M says

      Great comment!!!!

      However keep it down – America is an exceptional country and people do not want to hear otherwise!

      If the young do not want to get healthcare as they do not want to subsidize older people – when they get sick they should have to,pay PRIOR to gettin ANY service!

  16. BillTed says

    ACA or Obamacare is a tax on the healthy by the unhealthy and old. It’s disgusting seeing how many people are over weight, no, obese everywhere!

    • says

      Is it not the same as a progressive tax on the rich to subsidize the poor? The country overwhelming favors a progressive tax rate. Prop 38 which taxes SF residents who make over $200,000 won in a landslide for education. The prop that taxes everyone to contribute to education failed.

      • Stevo says

        You’re right Sam. Those dang rich people should foot the bill for the majority of the electorate. We can keep putting forth proposals asking the masses to vote if the few should be responsible for more and more untill we reach a point of income homeostasis. We can then wear grey peasant garb and salute dear leader as we surrender our freedoms. Rich people shouldn’t dress better than the poor.

        I forgot who said it. Sooner or later you runout of other peoples money. What happens when we reach the point where hard workers are on equal par with non workers. Where will the incentive come from to work, to invent, to create and to take risks where there is no reward? What are the long term ramifications of continued socialist type ideology on the American way? What will we look like in 20 years?

      • BillTed says

        It is a progressive tax based on income for not signing up for health care or you can choose to give more and more of your income up for insurance each year as the price of health care will rise for the next decade, progressively. What does one get out of the deal besides higher costs? At least everyone will have insurance now right.

  17. Robin says

    @retirebyforty

    I don’t think anyone (even now) is hoping that there be a continuance in the number of people who are unable to get healthcare, regardless of political orientation. I think the issue comes with abuse of any public good which irritates those who are paying to subsidize others.

    Not trying to knock your sick family at all, I wish them a speedy recovery; however, I think an important philosophical question comes up related to expensive healthcare…

    Suppose there is a cancer patient earning around $50,000 (right around median income) and say just for kicks she is 40 yrs old. Let’s say she falls ill and is no longer able to work now or for the foreseeable future, and treatments will cost $500,000 out-of-pocket over 10 years (hardly an excess considering how ridiculous cancer treatments are). Suppose she still receives care but is never able to work again and defaults on her bills, essentially leaving the hospital and other paying patients to foot the bill at some point in the supply chain (let’s assume this hospital is NOT bankrupt). Is this $500k better spent reviving a cancer patient who may/may not ever contribute to society? Can you imagine the positive impact of $500k on low-income children’s health programs? Education programs? Anything that in the future would benefit society many multiples of the $500k? OR, is it better to let this person consume dollars and care and have others pay for it (albeit indirectly)?

    I don’t necessarily have an answer, but just wanted to ask the question. From the washingtonpolicy.org site, “In 2008-2009, the last years of complete data, 10 percent of patients used 70 percent of all health care dollars.” Does this seem fair? Unfair? Moral?

    I think we all agree everyone has a right to healthcare, the REAL QUESTION, like anything else, is how much healthcare does everyone have a right to receive? And, at what expense? Seems as if a small minority is consuming the vast majority of resources in health care, and at the end of the day we have sub-standard health outcomes as compared to other countries. Is Obamacare the answer? Will this solve our fiscal issues?

    I hope for our country that sub-standard healthcare does not continue the way it has to date.. Now how do we fix this? I wish I had an answer.

    • says

      “From the washingtonpolicy.org site, “In 2008-2009, the last years of complete data, 10 percent of patients used 70 percent of all health care dollars.” Does this seem fair? Unfair? Moral?”

      Very interesting information! Sounds similar to the income distribution where the top 10% of income earners control the large majority of wealth.

      To answer your question how much health does everyone have a right to receive, my answer is: Everyone should have the right to at least minimum healthcare at affordable levels which provides for DISASTER insurance. I think under $200/month for someone making at least $28,000 a year is a worthwhile safety precaution.

    • says

      @Robin, I’m not sure I understand your point. Are you saying that society would be better off if people who could not afford expensive medical treatment, such as your hypothetical cancer patient, were just allowed to die without wasting any more money on them?

    • says

      Robin’s comment brings up one of the biggest reasons I’m in support of the government mandate portion of Obamacare. Healthcare, specifically in regards to emergency treatment. Emergency treatment is the only business I can think of where ability to pay is not a requirement for service. If someone walks into a car dealership and says they need a car but can’t pay, they’re not going to get a car, no matter how much they need it. But if someone walks into an ER and complains of heartburn and indigestion, the ER is required to at the least evaluate them, potentially costing thousands of dollars, regardless of ability to pay. Requiring insurance is a simple way to correct at least a part of this problem.

      • says

        Hence this bit in the post:

        “Economics-wise, we are theoretically improving the fiscal health of our health care system by forcing the uninsured to pay health insurance premiums. 30 million Americans paying $200 a month equals an extra $72 billion dollars a year which can be used to cover emergency care that’s already being provided. However, who knows how much more abuse or moral health hazards will result from everybody now having more insurance.”

  18. says

    Since I am insured through the school district, I am neither looking forward to or fearing Obamacare! The more people that have health insurance, the better it will be for everyone. I would have preferred some cost controls in addition to the changes I am aware of. I wish Congress would focus on improving the program rather than one side trying to kill it.

  19. moshennik says

    i am shocked how much misinformation there is about Obamacare. I am currently doing some strategy work for a large insurance co, as related to Health Exchanges

    1) Obamacare was not approved by the Supreme Court, they merely said that the fine is in fact a tax, and it’s within authority of the government to pass taxes
    2) Obamacare does not make insurance more affordable for everyone. It does make insurance affordable for those with pre-existing conditions going to individual markets to buy insurance (very small % of population), however it makes it more expense for those healthy, younger people.
    3) Obamacare does not do almost anything to control costs, in fact my client fully expects costs on average to go up, as more coverage is mandated, and you cannot opt-out of specific coverage elements

    By the way, I would be more then happy to answer any specific questions about Obamacare, as I’m knee-deep in this thing right now :).

    • says

      You’re welcome to write a post encapsulating your thesis here!

      I think the bottom line is that Obamacare is going through whether we like it or not.

      Best to see the positives rather than harp on the negatives as there is no turning back!

      • moshennik says

        Unfortunately, it’s hard to see the positives..
        Well.. consulting companies make a lot of money from this law, that’s a positive for me.
        Personally, my mom is a self-employed piano teacher, who has been buying individual policy health insurance for years, and has been very happy with it.
        Now that her plan is not compliant, she has to change it and pay exactly double, for a plan that covers things she does not need, with higher deductible.

        Of course, we have to deal with whatever regulations the government tosses our way. Luckily it will be shutdown for a while, and unable to pass any new laws for at least a week :).

        • says

          Btw, if Obamacare already passed Congress and is deemed constitutional by the Supreme Court, why are Republicans not accepting this and moving on?

          Can’t keep on fighting after already losing.

        • moshennik says

          They are not accepting it because their electorate does not want them to accept it.
          they think it’s the most evil thing since.. well.. social security.. or something like that :).

  20. says

    As someone who has lived on the welfare system, I’m cautiously optimistic about the new health care. See, 10 years ago I was 19 with a daughter. My wife and daughter were able to qualify for care; I wasn’t. Because of certain private health issue issues I attempted to pay for health insurance and was told I was ‘uninsurable’ by 4 separate companies.

    Now that I’m nearing early retirement the same issue was stopping me. How would I get insurance if no one would cover me – at any price – at 19?

    So yes, it is a net positive for early retirees.

  21. Ace says

    Ok…. Here is the thing: There has been a very well organized effort by “Right Wing” media (mainly Fox) to spread disinformation about the ACA. The Affordable Care Act is a very good thing for the country. Yes….. It is not perfect. Given the choice, I would go with Medicare for every one.

    The big thing is that people will no longer be discriminated against for pre-existing conditions. The second big thing is portability. Americans will no longer be stuck working as some kind of slave for an employer because of health insurance. It will provide the freedom to quit!

    More people will start small businesses. More people will pursue careers because of personal interest rather than: “The company sucks, but I work there for the health insurance.”

    This is a big game changer. You will see many more folks retire at age 50. In fact, this may actually create a employee shortage (which is good). This will level the playing field and force
    employers to treat their employees properly!

    • says

      “The company sucks, but I work there for the health insurance.”

      This is a very important point. So many people are stuck working at jobs out of necessity not out of joy. Health care is a big reason, and more people can do what they want and not be as shackled. That’s a very good thing!

  22. says

    I have a Kaiser HMO plan through work so Obamacare doesn’t affect me. My company’s HR says they don’t think it will affect our company health benefits for a long time. If I did not have benefits through my company, I would be glad that Obamacare is finally here. I have a preexisting condition that could financially wipe us out without it.

  23. says

    Health is the one thing that’s life or death. I find it interesting that people are willing to spend $200/month on cell phone, cable, wifi but refuse to want to pay for health coverage. You are correct. We only think about it when we are sick.

    • David M says

      Expensive cell phones and cable plans are necessities! Health insurance – absolutely NOT a necessity! In the minds of many American that is – not in your and my mind!

      I also do not understand the decisions many people make with money. Its amazing the % of there income that some low income earners spend on cable, cell and internet service!

  24. says

    My insurance (purchased through ehealthinsurance.com) went from $680 per month to $1100 per month starting January 1st.

    I need to do some more research but both my wife and I have pre existing conditions (and she is pregnant now due in January) so that’s part of why I was paying $680 in the first place (only two people)

    I need to call them again to see of there is something else I could do. I knew being higher income I would be subsidizing others but hopefully it won’t be at nearly double the old price.

    • moshennik says

      Interesting, my mom experienced the same thing, but she is reasonably healthy, with no expensive pre-existing conditions. Did your wife get pregnant before you got insurance?
      But 50% bump seems about in-line with what our analytic showed. The main reason is that there is a lot more mandatory coverage in the Obamacare compliant plans.

  25. Mike Hunt says

    Obamacare makes the decision to remain overseas that much easier. At least until I reach an older age and can come back so the younger people are subsidizing me…

    It’s amazing that Obama got such a huge % of the youth vote in the re-election, when those fine folks are the ones being screwed the most (high college costs, high youth unemployment and now Obamacare).

    -Mike

    • Ace says

      Young people need health care too. The way insurance works is by spreading the cost among
      a large population. The larger the population, the lower the individual cost. It’s not rocket
      science.

    • says

      Well, Obamacare allows our youth to sty under our parent’s cheaper health insurance as a dependent until end of 26 years old. That’s pretty good to me for someone who isn’t making much or is unemployed.

  26. says

    I have mixed feelings about Obamacare. I love that we finally did something and think it’s going in the right direction as we desperately need change in health care. That said, I am always concerned when the government steps in. At the end of the day, I am excited to see what it brings and hope the market will smooth things out.

  27. says

    Your government already offers free medical care in the form of Medicare and Medicade. Are they inefficient money wasters or are they good quality programs?

    Wouldn’t it be simpler if those programs were just expanded to include all Americans?

    Very happy to be Canadian today and not have to watch my government be the laughing stock of the world right now. I am sure Putin is loving every minute of it.

    • Ace says

      The Affordable Care Act does indeed expand Medicaid which is the program for very low income citizens. In my opinion, expanding Medicare (which is for those 65 & older) to all citizens would be the way to go. Unfortunately, this is not politically possible.

      In fact, the ACA involves setting up insurance markets so that uninsured citizens may purchase health insurance at what amounts to group rates. This is actually a Republican Party policy which was originally written by the American Heritage Foundation. “Romneycare” which has been in place in Massachusetts is based on this.

      In fact, Obamacare=Romneycare, but expanded nationwide.

      People in Massachusetts are in general very satisfied and it is therefore my belief that Americans as a whole will find the new healthcare acceptable.

    • says

      After a certain age e.g. 62. But not for folks under that age who are unemployed or underemployed. This is our focus here. Helping these people out with more affordable care to prevent disasters.

  28. Ravi says

    It seems a few good points were to allow people to stay on family plans until age 26 and allowing people with pre-existing conditions to still be covered, but if that means premiums for most people will jump to cover for new entrants to the system, I’m not sure how this helps the real problem of spiraling healthcare costs?

    I think many people would agree that spreading costs over a population makes a lot of sense, in fact that’s the basic concept of insurance; however, what happens when the total costs just keeps increasing?

    I wonder if this will reverse the healthcare inflation trend or make it worse…

    • says

      Hard to say, but those two points are huge for less wealthy people who are underemployed. I think we need to help them most. If they get into big trouble, supporting them also may be much more expensive down the road.

  29. JT says

    Sam, subsidies go way higher than $17k for an individual. You get some form of subsidy all the way to 4x poverty level, which is $45,960 for singles.

    Apparently $45,960 per year is the new poor, whereas anyone who earns $45,961 is rich as can be!

    • Mike Hunt says

      While I wouldn’t mind (in principle) buying insurance along with everyone else to ensure that all is protected from a catastrophic event, that is not what the ACA is enabling. The US healthcare system remains broken- there are monopolies that are endemic (no re-importation of drugs or equipment that is sold cheaper to other countries than the USA). Why is it that we can have a delivery with a C-Section in the best hospital in the country, for 4 days in a private room with top notch service that costs $2.5K USD that is paid out of pocket. Same top notch equipment and US trained physicians… The problem in the USA is that he insiders run the show so there is no incentive for real reform that would benefit everybody.

      IF healthcare costs were to really go down, think of all the money that would be freed up to spend on innovation and consumption. Instead the health care industry captures 20% of the GDP- that is just sad.

      -Mike

      • Ace says

        If you were designing a healthcare system from scratch, you would never do
        it this way.

        Yes…. We need more cost control, but the ACA is a rather modest and positive
        step in the right direction.

        Considering all the political nonsense we had to go through (and still going through) to
        get this far, I’m elated with this law.

  30. Maverick says

    There is, quite possibly, another aspect of healthcare seldom talked about. Transparent pricing. For elective procedures, prices should be quoted in full and honored, just like auto repair estimates. The US government recently published a study on healthcare pricing and found a joint replacement operation billings ranging from $6K in MS to $123K in CA. There was even a wide discrepancy across leading hospitals in major markets. Wal-Mart is going after this issue by approving in FULL, elective procedures at regional centers where they prenegotiated fees. If you choose to go to another hospital, you pay the difference.

    • David M says

      Transparent pricing in healthcare – there is a shocking idea!

      My wife had a surgery last year with a billed cost of about $12,000. It was first processed as out of network and we were billed about $6,000. I called and got it billed correctly and we were responsible for about $600.

      Single payer is the way to go – lots of billing people in hospitals/insurance companies will lose their jobs – but – the cost of healthcare will drop significantly!

  31. ahp123 says

    Luckily I am exempt from this bill, because I meet some criteria because I am a Veteran (not all Veterans are exempt from this bill)

    For me and my situation this bill to force me to buy health insurance would be a waste for me personally. For the past 2 years I have spent less than 30 days back in the USA, for that short amount of time I would not need health insurance.

    • says

      How would you be covered? Say if you had appendicitis or some other fast onset condition. Not being insured by at least a high deductible emergency plan for those short time periods is like leaving the battery out of your smoke detector a few days a month.

  32. Ace says

    The Affordable Care Act doesn’t apply to people whom do not reside inside the U.S. You probably have some kind of government sponsored healthcare where ever you live (or maybe V.A.
    at a military base?). In any case, there won’t be any penalties applied to your tax return.

  33. Karim says

    What does everyone think about the fact that all premiums bought through the Exchanges have to be purchased with post-tax dollars. It seems unfair to me that if I buy health insurance through my work I get a nearly 40% discount since that money isn’t taxed but anyone forced to buy through an exchange has to use post-tax dollars.

  34. Ricky says

    I know I’m a little late to the game but why are you so pro something that will end up costing you much more to help subsidize those that weren’t as successful as you? It kind of is unfair to you.

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