Last December, I was shopping around for a new health insurance policy. Since healthcare.gov was still a non-functioning website (in fact I may have about 4 accounts with healthcare.gov, but who knows), I quickly found ehealthinsurance.com, which is a website where you can shop and browse for difference health plans (something that listening to the rhetoric from Democrats on Obamacare you would think did not exist until the government created healthcare.gov).
On ehealthinsurance.com, I was able to browse different plans that started in either December 2013 or January 2014. This is a crucial distinction because plans that started in December were non-ACA compliant.
Now, I am a very healthy, single 26-year-old. I exercise almost everyday and maintain a healthy weight, so I view health insurance as something that I would only use if I was in a horrible accident or stricken with a terrible disease. I also like the HSA model, because it allows me to save money tax-free for health expenses down the road.
The first thing I noticed while comparison shopping was that there were vastly fewer plans to choose from that began in 2014 than there were that began in 2013, but nevertheless I continued on my search. I determined the best plan (balancing cost, doctors, deductible, and my preference for an HSA plan) that began in December 2013 was an HSA PPO plan that cost $127 per month and had a $3,000 deductible. The best plan that began in January 2014 was an HSA HMO (i.e. fewer doctors) and cost $140 per month and had a $6,000 deductible. Obviously I went with the plan that had more doctors, a lower premium, and a lower deductible.
Now here we are. One year later, and the health insurance plan that I like has been cancelled because it is not compliant with the ACA. So what are my options? Well, United Health, which is my current health insurance provider, offered me a plan "similar to the one I have now" but that is also ACA compliant. That plan costs $260 per month and has a $3,650 deductible. That's over a 100 percent increase in premium and an over 20 percent increase in the deductible for those keeping score. After shopping around for a different ACA compliant plan, I found an HSA Blue Cross Plan with a $160 per month premium and a $6,000 deductible. Note that the Blue Cross Plan is an HMO plan not a PPO, so it provides coverage for fewer doctors and hospitals.
So here is my choice, should I pay double the premium for only a 20 percent increase in my deductible or should I pay a 26 percent increase in my premium for double the deductible? Now, some of you might say that that is still not a lot of money for health insurance and you might be right. But health insurance should be cheap for someone like me. I am both young and healthy. I am at very low risk for needing health services. In fact I am a jackpot for a health insurance company because I will likely pay way more in premiums than I will ever use in health care next year. And that is exactly why my premiums are going up so much.
The young and healthy are being forced to pay substantially higher premiums in order to subsidize premiums for older and sicker Americans. Now you can argue whether you think that is fair or not all you want, but it is clear that this system does not make health insurance " more affordable" for someone like me.
Right now I am leaning towards the $160 per month HMO plan because I can't afford the other one. So lets add up how Obamacare has affected me: I will pay 26 percent more in premiums to get access to fewer doctors and have double the deductible that I had before. But, hey! "Free" birth control! (By the way, the non-ACA compliant plan also offered "free" birth control)