Saturday, January 25, 2014

O'Care Adventures

If you read White House and media pronouncements, you know that Obamacare is going swimmingly. My own experience with O'Care has gone as swimmingly as a global warming cruise.

Our adventure started with our insurance agent informing us that our then current, now expired, plan (the one we could keep if we liked it) would be illegal in a year. So we took a look at the O'Care offerings and realized that we were barely eligible for a subsidy. As a result our premiums would have been roughly the same but our deductible was going down from $11,000 to $2,000. My thinking was: I didn't write the law, I think it will implode, my own plan was going away, but a family member had a scheduled medical procedure that would have easily exceeded $11,000, so we can save $9,000. So we went for it.

On the advice of our agent, who had at that time been unable to sign up anyone via the O'site, we filed a paper application. The next step was to await a call from the O'Carigators, at which point we would select a plan, pay, and join the swelling ranks of the happily insured.

The call never came and the deadline for Jan 1st coverage was approaching. So we called the navigators again and again and again and again. We got through ok and they politely took our information, entered it into the system which after an hour or so of waiting, finger crossing, small talk, failed. Nothing they could do. Try back later. As a retailer of gifts, I had nothing better to do on December 23rd.

The deadline came and went. Previously noted medical procedure was cancelled because we were not insured.

Still no insurance at this point despite numerous attempts. There is a uncashed check floating around somewhere at the exchange. We went to Paul Ryan's office. They were helpful and nice, like the navigators, but I fear they will be unable to help. Apparently they will be able to secure for me a federal caseworker of some sort who can force these difficult cases through via some other method besides the web site. The government has thirty days to respond to Ryan/us. Not holding my breath.

Just like a purchase at Amazon,  except with government sector sclerocity.


Nemo said...

We had a similarly excellent experience with 0care. We got a letter in September from our insurance company (Anthem)that told us everything is fine and if we continue to pay our monthly bill we will continue to be covered. We pay our bill over the phone with a credit card (free gas!). On a cold December 24th, we called to pay our bill and was told it was $0. We got hold of a human at Anthem. She told us that our plan did not comply with the 0care mandates and was canceled. And she has no record of a letter going out to us. Because it was the 24th the earliest they could enroll us in a policy was February 1st. So on the day before Christmas we passed the time scrambling to get insurance on the 0care site.

Now you need to know a bit more to truly enjoy the 0care experience we had. We sold our business back in late 2012 and are in a position to take a few years off, if not just retire. This technically makes our projected earned income for 2014 zero dollars. Now back to the 0care website. If you have zero dollars earned income, you are shunted into Badgercare no matter your assets. You can't even look at the "marketplace". We called (what a lovely way to spend Christmas eve) a navigator and he agreed that it's stupid, but that's the way it is. Great. So our only option to be covered in January was Badgercare. We figured fine we'll do that for a month and get Anthem to sign us up for February. Only Badgercare is not taking any new people until March 31. Not only did 0care leave us uninsured, it made it impossible to get insured!

This tail of government induced woe does have a happyish ending. A few days later we dug up the letter Anthem had no record of and called. It turns out that we are insured after all (Anthem has two systems and the first girl we talked to on the 24th could not see the system we were on). This made us happy. Our premiums went up 95% and our deductible is higher, that's the "ish" part.

The only silver lining I see, aside from now having pediatric dental care (we have on kids), is watching the 0care tsunami wash over and drown the Democrats this Fall. The empty pants suit running against Gov. Walker has 0 chance with such a current pouring over Wisconsin.

Oh, and it's good to have you back Denis!

Zane Navratil said...

Maybe you could offset your premium and deductible increases by applying for food stamps. On the blog thing, I am thinking of it somewhat differently now. It seems that a vibrant exchange with well reasoned opponents is but a pipe dream. Rather I will see it as a place to vent and collect something of a political diary. I always enjoy your participation so I hope you will chime in now and again. Thanks. Denis.

Nemo said...

Thanks, I'll be watching. I hope that Gearhead and that other scary smart Ed guy comment too. I miss their contributions. I yearn for the lefts' subsidies a bit less but if you can get past the pejoratives and general loonyness, their comments can be a small window into what the typical proglodyte is thinking and on rare occasions they can make an overlooked point. Looking forward to your next post.