Thursday, January 9, 2014

My Obamacare Story

Despite being assured if we like our health insurance we can keep it, my entire policy (not just me) was canceled as of January 1. That happened around September. Lucky for me, New York is one of the few states that had a good website.

The deadline was December 23 (later changed to December 24) and I would periodically go to the New York site and nose around at the plans. It makes your head spin. Finally as the day drew nearer, I figured I better get going.

First you have to register and be approved as the person you claim you are. I found that similar to when you get your credit rating on line. It all happened within five minutes and then I was directed to pick my plan. You could do all sorts of filters such as certain doctors, certain companies, premium price etc . I left it all wide open. The policies are divided on a national basis into four metals, with platinum being the highest level.

I had been paying $1100 a month. The one platinum plan was $889 a month so I just went with the most expensive, figuring it was still less than what I was paying. I also wanted to go with a "name" insurance company and my plan is United Health. I did study the plans, and finally just picked this one.

The website told me that I'd be contacted "soon" about paying the premium and I expected to get a quick email since the plan went into effect on January 1. Didn't come, didn't come and I started making some phone calls to the most annoying phone trees ever wanting to get an invoice or way to pay. No luck.

The web site showed me as registered for this particular plan and I'd go and check to make sure. In the long run I decided to Let go and Let God figuring I'd done what I could to pay. In the meantime I had talked to Lane who signed up for Romneycare when she lived in Massachusetts and she told me that her first invoice came much later than she thought.

Yesterday I got a letter from New York state saying I was signed up for this particular plan so I was glad I had something in writing.

Today I got a phone call from United Health since they said I hadn't paid the premium. I told them I am very anxious to pay the premium but had not gotten a bill. He said it was mailed December 30th but as of today it didn't arrive. I could either set up an automatic payment or pay by credit card on line. I asked him if he would stay with me if I paid on line and he said yes. This was Larry and I have to say he was very very nice.

So he walks me through the process, and everything works fine -- I could have done it on my own but I didn't trust the process. He also took down the confirmation number -- Oh, I didn't mention that the first premium is due January 10 -- and put it in my "record."

The February invoice will mail January 20 and I think I'll continue to pay online and I was thinking as long as it's going on a credit card I'll pay it the day it arrives.

Larry also gave me my ID # and group # now that I've paid and I'm glad to have those in case of an emergency before I get my packet of stuff with the insurance card.

So that's my experience -- if I weren't a worrywart about paying it would have been an incredibly easy process, but I do have this fear that I'm hit by a truck the day I have no insurance. On January 1, I felt vulnerable so now I'm set.

I can also save several hundred dollars more in that I won't have to belong to the National Writers Union. Other than being part of their group insurance plan, I have to say I see no other benefit from belonging.


Melissa said...

Very interesting story. My policy was canceled too, but they ended up being able to extend it for one year. I'm hoping some of the kinks get worked out by then. The replacement policy they originally offered was several hundred dollars more than I am paying. But it sound life health ins is a lot higher in NY than in TX. What is your deductible?

Pat said...

i can't access it right now. When i get my packet, we can compare.

Mitchell Carlson said...

That's true. Not having insurance can be a scary thing. To go through the day knowing that something bad can happen, and that it's possible not to get cared for is a terrifying thought. Anyway, I'm glad that you're all set now. Take care always! :)

Mitchell Carlson @