On December 24th, I was finally able to afford health insurance. After haggling with the exchange for months, I figured out what I was doing wrong (I had a glitch in my original application, so once I started over, it went smoothly), and was able to sign Nathan and I up for a health insurance AND dental insurance plan through Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. We have a $300 deductible and $1000 out-of-pocket maximum for our health insurance and a pretty decent dental plan. Yes, we only have in-network privileges here in Michigan, but that is ok, as we generally don't travel outside of Michigan, and we have coverage for emergency room visits out of network. All in all, we are paying less than $30 per month for insurance that we would only have been able to dream about a year ago. We were also allowed to register for health insurance as a married couple, in a State which doesn't recognize our marriage as valid.
Why is this important to me? Mainly because I have been without health insurance for a number of years. Some of that time, I was lucky to have access to the Canadian system (when I was living in that country), the rest of the time, when I lived in Tennessee and here in Michigan, I had to fend for myself. I often made the decision NOT to go to the doctor, when I likely should have, because on my limited income, it was not economically feasible for me to pay up front or go into debt. Obamacare changed all that. On January 1, I can pick up the phone, go to the doctor, and pay a low out of pocket fee. I can be assured that if the doctor finds anything that needs to be taken care of, that I will not go into exorbitant debt that will take me years to pay.
Is Obamacare perfect? No, it isn’t, and if anyone says that it is, they are full of bull. But is Obamacare, in allowing those who cannot afford health insurance to access our healthcare system, in allowing those with pre-existing conditions (like myself) to not be priced out of the market, in ensuring that people do not go into bankruptcy because of lifetime coverage caps, worth it? I think so.
This post isn't meant to be scientific and it isn't meant to be a "gotcha" post that says the Affordable Care Act is working. Anecdotes don't give us a broad picture of reality. But in my world, the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) has worked, and I am thankful for it.