I still see a lot of ranting in the social and mainstream media against the Affordable Care Act, derisively known as Obamacare, but I for one would like to stand up and be counted as a grateful beneficiary of this law (which was, in case anyone has forgotten, passed by both houses of Congress and upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court).
As of the first of this year, I am covered by a pretty darn comprehensive new policy from Blue Cross that I would not have been able to get at the price I’m paying in any other way before the ACA passed. My monthly premium is considerably less than what I paid for COBRA coverage from my last job, and the benefits are nearly on par (nearly; my previous employer offers what’s called “Cadillac coverage”).
I didn’t have to do anything to get this policy other than fill out an application and write a check, which was efficiently handled by a local insurance agent with essentially no effort required from me other than driving it over to his office and dropping it off. (I originally signed up through the healthcare exchange online, but waited until too close to the last minute to trust that site to process my application by the deadline. The agent took care of everything for me and I’ve already received my letter of welcome from Blue Cross.) I can now rest easier at night knowing that I won’t be bankrupted if something happens to my health—which, knock wood, it won’t.
How is this a bad thing?
I cannot find one downside to the idea of being able to simply select and purchase a health care policy from a company I know and trust at a price I want to pay that provides the coverage I want and need, regardless of my age or weight or previous health history or anything other than my ability to pay for it. I want to have health insurance—who in their right mind doesn’t nowadays?
As a self-employed person, I would have been ineligible for pretty much any kind of reasonably priced health coverage under the old rules. As a middle-aged, steadily shrinking but still overweight woman, I would have paid crazy premiums if I were able to get coverage at all (I have been rejected for insurance solely because of my weight). I don’t have to worry about my sleep apnea not being covered as a pre-existing condition because those no longer exist in the insurance world. I don’t have to worry about anything related to health insurance anymore, really. I am covered, period. And that, as they say, is priceless.
I was at a party the other night where one of the guests was grousing about being “forced” to buy health coverage, and I had to bite my tongue. We all have to carry insurance on our homes and our cars, so why not on our health? If we don’t, somebody else will have to pay the price when we get sick, and the price can be staggering for even a minor procedure or event. It is illegal to drive without insurance because it is reckless to do so, and I would argue that it is also reckless to not carry health insurance. There are so many plan options, and so much help available to pay the premium. It’s a no-brainer.
Between my home insurance, car insurance (including AAA) and life insurance, I spend hundreds of dollars a year and have spent tens of thousands of dollars over the course of my life for a few paltry thousands of dollars in benefits received all together. The recent paint damage to my car is my first claim on that policy and only the second or third claim I’ve ever made on a car. I’ve used AAA once for dead battery last year and once or twice for a tow back when I was in college, have never used my homeowner’s insurance, and of course will not personally benefit from my life insurance. The only claims I have ever made against my health insurance are for annual checkups, minor injuries, and sleep apnea. Some would say that’s a lousy return on investment, but I don’t look at any kind of insurance as an investment. I look at it as peace of mind, a small shield against an uncertain world.
Odds are strongly in my favor that I will never use this new policy of mine, if my past performance is any indication. I have never been much of a consumer of health care because I have always been pretty darn healthy, and I don’t expect that to change any time soon. But it’s better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it. I am grateful to have it, every day.
The inclusion of the gun reference in the image above is incidental and not relevant to my point; I personally have no argument to make for or against guns. I don’t know Mr. Gibson’s views on the matter.