My Obamacare story

by | Nov 22, 2013 | Editor's Blog, Health Care | 6 comments

Republicans who are cheering for Obamacare to fail are really hoping that a lot of sick people don’t get treatment. They can rant and rave about government intrusion all they want but this program will have a real impact on the lives of real people. And it’s going to help a lot more than it’s going to hurt.

I’m biased. I’m one of the people it will help. I’ve been self-employed for the past 20 years and, until this year, have bought insurance on the individual market. I had good coverage, but I paid for it. But that only worked in the good times. When the recession hit, I got burned.

Back in 2004, I was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. It’s a slow growing cancer and I was asymptomatic so instead of treating it, they’ve been monitoring it. Three or four times a year, I have blood drawn and lymph nodes checked. So far, so good, but eventually, it will cause me trouble.

From 2004 through 2009, I paid about a $1000 a month for insurance for me and my family. I kept the high payments because of the cancer. It was a major expense, but the alternative could become a lot more expensive. I also knew that if I dropped my insurance, I would never get coverage again.

Unfortunately, the Great Recession hit hard. In an effort to cut costs, I reduced my coverage. I thought I was just increasing my deductible and co-pays in exchange for a lower premium. I was wrong. After my regular visit, I received a bill for lab work that topped $1000. I argued and fought and after months, I only paid about half of the bill. I was never given a reason. I think I just wore them down.

Never the less, I stopped going for my check ups and just hoped that the cancer wasn’t starting to spread.

Then, my wife got a job that offered insurance. I thought my disease would prevent me from being covered, but I was pleasantly surprised when they told me I was eligible. It was a great relief. We did the paperwork and, for the first time in almost 20 years, I thought we had affordable insurance at a reasonable rate. Boy, was I wrong.

After going back for my check up, I got a letter from the new insurance company informing me that I had a pre-existing condition that is not covered. So, they offer coverage, just not for anything that was already wrong with me. In essence, they only offer insurance to people who don’t need it.

I haven’t been tested since early this year. I’m waiting for January first when “pre-existing condition” is no longer a valid term. I’m hoping for the best.

So for all of you people hoping Obamacare fails, screw you, too.


  1. jack mohr

    I am a self employed individual, age 50 with a pre-existing medical condition. Yesterday(November 21) I went to, signed up for an account, worked through the entire process of entering information about myself and was given a specific list of plans available to me along with information about eligibility for tax credits. The list was organized by level of coverage (platinum, gold, silver, etc) with monthly premiums, copayments and out of pocket expenses. The list included links to explanations of what is and is not covered. The process took about 90 minutes.

    The result: I now have a choice among several plans at each level of coverage. The “Gold Plan” which is comparable to my current plan, costs $247 less per month and includes Dental coverage.

    • Thomas Mills

      Congrats, Jack. Glad that worked out.

  2. Carol Siebert

    Agree–for similar reasons. Exhausted COBRA long ago and couldn’t obtain or afford insurance self-employed due to pre-existing condition. After the ACA passed, I obtained high deductible coverage through the temporary high risk “inclusive health” option created by the ACA. That ends 12/31/2013–and by then I will have insurance through the federally run exchange.
    I don’t envy people who have been blessed with no illnesses, accidents or catastrophes in their lives or the lives of their loved ones. What I don’t understand is why anyone believes that they are immune from illness, injury or disability or that anyone who experiences such should suffer the consequences–even if that means dying from something that can be treated, managed or alleviated.
    The ACA and it’s implementation isn’t perfect. But there are millions of us who recognize that the ACA means not having to make choices between accessing care vs. suffering or dying from something treatable. Or accessing care vs. keeping a roof over one’s head. The anti-ACA politicians and idealogues who think care should begin in the emergency room fail to understand costs or care. I also wonder if they lack compassion or just common sense. See:

  3. Robert Peterson (@zweirad)

    We are also hoping the ACA will help us.

    In late August, I was laid off from my state-funded job. Since we had medical insurance through my former employer, we were eligible for COBRA. This is good since my wife is a breast cancer survivor. The bad thing is COBRA costs over $1200 a month for two people. This is more than our mortgage.

    We are looking at plans and will probably sign up for the coverage offered through the ACA. It should be somewhat less expensive than COBRA. Of course, my hope is that I will find a great job (as a graphic designer) and we will receive employer-provided medical insurance.

  4. teresa mikrut

    I’m wishing you the best. A lot of the people against the ACA don’t realize how precarious all of our situations are. I’m in my fifties–if I lose my coverage from my employer–I’m screwed. Most of my co-workers are in the same boat.

    I have a nephew who had over a million dollars of medical bills by the time he was two years old. He is five now, and if nothing goes wrong, it costs about a thousand dollars a day just to keep him alive. (He was born with a genetic defect of the intestines.)

    It can happen to ANYONE.

    Most people I know that are against the ACA either have Medicare, are total ideologues, or just don’t want to pay for insurance. (and/or belong to the FOX news cult)

    It would really be great if every one would work together to improve the ACA instead of trying to sabotage it. There is so much at stake for so many people.

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