The Republican Party is in serious trouble. For a long while, much of America has been debating "How does the Affordable Care Act really affect me? It's been such an amorphous question that it's allowed uncertainty to fester. Well... the thing is, now you can find out. And it's not good for the GOP.
A friend called yesterday afternoon and talked me through using the California website for the Affordable Care Act, a clearinghouse of information about the new law, and how it affects Californians. Included on the page is a form that lets you determine what insurance plans might be available to you, and how much you'll pay.
I found out how much I'll pay.
As I said, the Republican Party is in serious trouble.
My friend, who is a lawyer, is meticulous about reading everything about... well, anything, but especially insurance forms. And most especially about the Affordable Care Act. Better known as Obamacare. And as far as I can tell from going through this form, Obama really does care. A lot. I was so flabbergasted by what I found that I kept asking my friend if he was absolutely, positively sure there were no catches. He was sure. There are no catches.
After entering your personal information, a page comes up that shows the plans that fit your situation. That first page was HMOs. Clicking to a second page, I found a PPO offered by a major company that I liked.
And then I looked at the bottom line. The amount I would owe. And when I did, I was gobsmack floored.
If I sign up for this plan (and honestly, there is no way I'm not), then thanks to Obamacare, I will pay around $750 LESS a month. That works out to a savings of $9,000 a year!
My deductible? It dropped from $2,500 down to... zero.
Maybe it's just me, but I think people are going to be very pleased by savings like that.
Actually, I had various other options. There are platinum, gold, silver and bronze plans. The standard one (that I was looking at) was Silver. Called "Silver 94." What that "94" means is that about 94 percent of all health costs will be covered.
That's another really good thing.
(Just out of curiosity, I looked at Bronze 60. Only 60 percent of your health costs will be covered with that, but for some people -- like perhaps if you're in your 20s -- that might be all they need. And how much would that plan have cost me? It was $1 a month. For those who are math-challenged, this would be $12 a year.
It's really hard to take seriously any complaints about forcing people to buy health care when for a lot of people that cost could potentially be $12 a year.
To be very clear, my numbers will not be the same as for others. As I said above, it depends on your income, age, what state you live in, what area, how many dependents and what plan you choose. But my numbers are actual figures and a good starting point for comparison.
(By the way, my friend said that for his own family plan, his deductible was going to drop from $7,600 a year down to $500. It will not surprise you to learn that he's extremely happy. I believe the medical term is "giddy.")
This will be different from state to state. California, for example, where I live, being so populous could negotiate a better deal that others. And being California, they were motivated to. Not every state will be that lucky.
And not everyone will be aware of these price drops. Most people, after all, get their insurance through their employer. But it's hard to imagine that word will not spread about the massive savings.
Moreover, some people may not want to leave their insurance company. Or they might find that the new plans available for them are out-of-network with their family doctor. But the thing is, no one has to switch. If you want to stick with your insurance company and pay $9,000 extra a year, you can! As for your doctor being out-of-network -- the reality is that right now, before Obamacare, my own doctor is already out-of-network. I've never cared about that too much. I care more about having a good doctor, having the doctor I want. Mine saved my life. So, I'll stick with him, thanks for asking. Therefore, to me, a doctor being out of network is a secondary consideration -- but even if not, given the $9,000 savings starting January 1 I'd be okay with paying a few hundred dollars more over the course of a year for the doctor I want, whether he's in a network or not.
The only thing that annoys me about the Affordable Care Act is that I can't sign up until October 1, and it doesn't start until January 1.
This is spectacular. And we now see empirical data why the GOP is freaking out about "Obamacare" going into effect on October 1. For the past two years, the Republican Party has been running around, trying to terrify America about the supposed-hell of Obamacare -- they've been so frantic about it that they're threatening to shut down the government.
With savings like this, you now know the reason.
And when the American public begins to understand what the Affordable Care Act is, what Obamacare is, whatever you want to call it is, they will see that the GOP has painted itself into a corner for the disgrace they have brought upon themselves, and will see that the Grand Old Party has never been grand nor had its supporters best interests, or anyone's best interests at heart.
Some may wonder why Democrats haven't been calling this out from rooftops for the past two years. I would suspect that a big reason is that even as recently as a few months ago they might not have had all the numbers. States had to negotiate with insurance companies to get the prices, so these figures might only have been available recently, for all I know.
They might also argue that they did get the word out, but Republicans yelled hell and damnation louder.
I ran the numbers for a naturally-skeptical friend, who has a rehab condition that he hasn't been able to afford for the past few years. When he heard what his new cost would be and that his former rehab doctor is in the program, this natural skeptic got excited that "This means I might be able to start doing rehab again."
This is life-changing law for many. The Republican Party is in serious trouble.
(To use the form, go to www.coveredca.com, click Shop Now / Get Started and then fill in the simple boxes. If you're not from California and are just curious, make up a California zip code. Downtown L.A. is 90004. The only box that might be a little tricky is "Household Income." This is your Adjusted Gross Income. On your IRS tax form 1040, it's line 37. If you use different form, that line number may be different.)
Yesterday, President Obama was giving a speech and talking about the unrelenting Republican effort to slam and defund the program they've been trying to belittle as"Obamacare." Looking out over the audience, he said, "And once it's working really well, I guarantee you, they will not call it Obamacare."
Obamacare already seems to be working really well.
Robert J. Elisberg's new novel The Wild Roses, a comic adventure in the spirit of The Three Musketeers but with three women, recently reached the Top 50 in three Amazon Kindle bestseller categories. His other writing can be found at Elisberg Industries.