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I have been keeping up with the current mess as best I can considering I do have to actually put time in working for my living.  With the dribs and drabs of what I've heard about the current behavior of House Republicans, I find I understand the pleasures of schadenfreude for pretty much the first time in my life.  

I do know people who work for the federal government.  I worry about their situation and hope that particular problem goes away really soon.  It's the Republicans who don't like where they put themselves that I have been enjoying.

The ACA exchanges have provided a more pleasant sort of entertainment for me.  I'm 60 now.  I've been working with computers for 40 years.  Granted, it has been in my role as secretary and data entry person (I was the best, and I could prove it), but I did learn what to expect when something was first rolled out - I seem to have a genius for finding the bugs the programmers missed.

As things stand, this being our open enrollment month where I work, I decided to check into things.  One of the first things I discovered was that people where I work ARE eligible for the exchanges.  

One of the employee benefits is that we are provided a certain amount of money per month toward health insurance costs (if I chose to opt out of insurance provided by my employer, I would still receive $50 a month to apply toward health insurance).  This is a point in favor of staying with what I have since, after totting things up, I found that my 2014 insurance premiums will involve $2.30 per month out-of-pocket for me - were I still married, it would be $117.36 per month.  I have never had to concern myself with the other variations, but employee and children will cost $76.42 a month out-of-pocket for the coverage I have, and employee and family will cost $121.38 a month out-of-pocket.

Most of the plans now available through my employer include vision care, and separate dental plans are also available.  I have included my dental coverage in the numbers in the paragraph above.  

I have very good dental coverage - most of what I need is covered with no co-pay, the exceptions being root canals, crowns, and orthodontics (probably dental surgery, too, but I didn't check that close).  The co-pay is $75 if you have to pay one.  I really don't know how that works for braces, but for root canals and crowns, it's one time each - and, as I recall, the $75 for the root canal covers the crown as well, but I could be wrong about that - it was several years ago.

I'm not so happy with my vision coverage - the every-two-years exam costs me nothing out-of-pocket, but the glasses aren't much covered.  It costs less to go to LenseCrafters for lenses.  The last time I had money, I bought four pairs of glasses - and, fortunately for my finances, my prescription hasn't changed enough to make a difference since 2001.  I do have to get a new set of lenses for my distance vision pair as soon as I can get the money together, but my newest prescription will only be six months old by then.

I personally, have a $200 deductible on my health insurance (yes, I went for the best program available to me), $1200 maximum out-of-pocket for in-network providers, and $2200 maximum for out-of-network.  Since I live in Oregon, it has been several years since the last time I had to worry about a limit on the number of visits for psychological health issues, and my employer changed insurance providers from 2012, which put the chiropractor I see on the list of in-network providers - or at least, she thought it would and hasn't told me different.  

And I found out a week or so ago, when I got the reimbursement check, that the annual physician visit no longer requires a co-pay even if it ISN'T a full physical (which is required every two years).

I will keep an eye on the exchanges just in case my circumstances change.  But right now, I do work for the state medical school and they really do have to do well by their employees.
My mother tells me that my niece and her husband are upset by the ACA - the husband doesn't want the government involved in his healthcare.  Since he is two years into dealing with abdominal cancer and my niece has multiple sclerosis, my mother says she told him the government already IS involved in his healthcare (I wonder what he thinks Medicaid is?).  Nice guy, but he comes from a very small, very insular, very conservative town.  His business gets through much of the year on federal contracts.  Guess who's shut down right now.

Mom says they have horrendous medical expenses - a fact I am not surprised by - but I didn't know my niece's monthly shot costs $5,000 until my mother told me.  Their insurance costs an arm and a leg as well (besides the couple, there are two kids).  They are not happy about the ACA, but I hope they check out the Oregon site anyway - I suspect they can get coverage at least as good as they have for substantially less.

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