I am a huge fan of President Obama, a huge fan of Obamacare and am overjoyed that people who need it most will finally be able to get affordable health care. However, I am terrified of enrolling myself and it's very unlikely I'll do so.
Allow me to explain below...
I have private insurance that covers myself and my six year old daughter. My husband is not on my plan. I got my health insurance on my own in 2001, and it's not affiliated with my employer. This was a blessing a few years ago when I stopped working for almost two years to care for my daughter. I'm still not full time and probably won't be for many more years. I'm very happy not to have to rely on employer sponsored insurance.
Here's the thing--I'm sick and likely will be for the rest of my life. I have rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, and various other issues that include other autoimmune problems and medication related side effects (i.e. GI problems.) My conditions are very well controlled with medication. Controlled enough that I could work full time, but choose part time to care for my daughter.
I get EXCELLENT care for my conditions, but it is very expensive. I get an IV infusion every six weeks that bills for $6,000 (so something like $50,000 in unadjusted costs a year) and take about $500 worth of meds a month. This is only the routine, predictable stuff. This year I started to have problems with my feet and got an MRI, x-rays, nerve tests, etc. I also get periodic pulmonary function tests to make sure my meds aren't really screwing with my ability to breathe. If I stopped to add it up, my bills are easily $75,000 a year.
Right now, I have a $3,650 annual deductible and $0 copay after that. We just got notice that my premiums are going up next month to $750 a month. That is a lot of money out of pocket but for my situation, I am WAY ahead of the ball on this. I joke that I know the exact minute I hit my deductible. This year it was February 4th approximately 1:05pm, when I finished my first IV infusion of the year. After that, I pay nothing but my premiums.
Now comes the scary part. I checked into Obamacare and I see several plans available starting at $300/month and $3,500 max out of pocket. How awesome is that?? But what happens if I sign on, everything is roses for a year or two or five, then the political wrecking ball swings the other way and Congress successfully repeals Obamacare?
I would be so totally and completely fucked.
I would be where so many families are right now, with pre-existing conditions, huge medical costs, and no insurance company willing to lose money on them. Without my IV infusions and meds, I would be unable to work and probably be laying in bed curled up in a big ball of pain.
We all KNOW that this repeal crap won't stop for a long time. Maybe the Republicans will be off licking their wounds for a little while after their little tantrum. Maybe people will love Obamacare so much that R's will be terrified to touch it after it goes into affect next year. Maybe Dems will win and keep control of both houses of Congress and the Presidency. But maybe not. And that's not a chance I can take.
I will cheer Obamacare and be thrilled for several families I know who will now get affordable care for their children with special needs. But for now, I will be holding on to my current insurance with both hands, white knuckled and praying my premiums will stabilize. I'm hoping with all my might that time will further strengthen Obamacare until I'm no longer too scared to join in.
5:39 PM PT: Update with some additional facts:
My current plan has been tweaked to comply with ACA. I've gotten notices over the past few months about improvements made in order to comply. So at least for the near future, I believe I still have the option to keep my insurance. In my state at least, my insurer can't drop me as long as I pay my premiums. They would have to drop the entire plan (or "expire" it) in order to drop me.
Sorry about my lack of responses so far. I wasn't able to get back online until now.