Dispatches from the Healthcare Marketplace

Dispatches from the Healthcare Marketplace

A woman shares her real-life experience with trying to navigate Obamacare online..and why it's worth the trouble

by Afi-Odelia E. Scruggs, November 05, 2013

Dispatches from the Healthcare Marketplace

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contraception or most prescriptions. The deductibles were so high – and the annual limits so low – I’d be on the hook for most of healthcare costs.

But most times, I couldn’t get coverage. I have Grave’s disease, a thyroid condition I control by taking a daily pill and visiting the doctor once a year. But that was enough for insurers to refuse coverage because I have a pre-existing condition.

I finally gamed the system by joining a media association that offered access to insurance plans as a membership benefit.  I got a bargain. My premiums wouldn’t increase for three years. That incentive made it easy to bear the insurance company’s refusal to pay any thyroid-related expenses for a year. Not that it mattered; I would have had to go to 10 doctor’s appointments at $250 a pop before meeting the deductible.

My premium has increased by 20 percent each of the last three years – even though I don’t smoke or drink and my medical expenses consist of annual checkups to my endocrinologist and my gynecologist.  In order to keep premiums affordable, I’ve raised my deductible to $5,000.

My company gave me a final surprise: I could keep my policy under ACA.  It turns out that my flimsy coverage is a bronze plan. It provides the essentials required by the ACA, such as access to emergency services and free screenings for conditions like colon cancer, blood pressure and depression. Even though I couldn’t afford to use the insurance company’s discounted prescription coverage – my discount drug store is cheaper  – I had it.

But I’m not settling for the bronze; I’m going for silver.  With subsidies and tax credits, I’m hoping to step up to better coverage.  I’ll use the online site if it ever works correctly. If not, I’ll pick up the telephone.

But I’m getting through.

Afi-Odelia E. Scruggs is a freelance content creator who lives near Cleveland. Her website is www.aoscruggs.com

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