Viewpoint: Writer wants to set record straight on Affordable Care Act
I think there is a lot of misinformation being spread about the Affordable Care Act. Here is what I know:
1. If you are eligible and shop via the ACA website, the insurance you choose will have to meet certain criteria such as: you cannot be denied for pre-existing conditions, there cannot be a lifetime cap on coverage and so forth. People will have to choose from eligible programs that meet certain levels of service. So if the insurance you currently have is terrible, you may not find it on the ACA website. For the most part, people who are eligible to shop the exchanges will end up with better coverage, at less cost, (not worse coverage at higher costs as is so often stated.) Lower income people will get a tax break applied ahead of time, to bring down the cost of their monthly premiums. The plans offered will vary, based on your income, as well as the county and state you live in.
2. I went to the website, registered, chose a plan and was covered in less than a week at an affordable cost. The whole process online took me about 30 minutes. The insurance is better than what I had with my prior employer and costs me about the same. There may have been problems initially with the website but that was not my experience. There are also places in town you can go (usually the hospitals or clinics) that will help you, or you can call an 800 number to enroll. Its very easy.
3. Small businesses are eligible to shop for insurance for their employees on the website. Case in point, my brother-in-law works for a company with less than 100 employees. The insurance he had last year was terrible-large deductible, large copays, no cap on out of pocket, and he paid quite a bit of the premium. His employer shopped at healthcare.gov, was able to sign his employees up for insurance with low deductibles and copays, way better than what they previously had at significantly less cost. The premium was so low, the employer is now picking up the entire tab for his employees. The argument that this will raise taxes doesn’t really hold water either-we are already paying for the healthcare of the uninsured.
All this misinformation about “Obamacare” is doing a huge disservice to many. I know of folks who plan to go without insurance and “pay the fine” as so many on the right are advocating. That’s really a shame.
I’m asking everyone to make your own decisions about it. Don’t listen to me, don’t listen to lies, rumors and gossip from a bunch of haters with their own agenda. Someone always gets hurt when decisions are based on idle talk without all the facts. Make your own decision based on what is right for you, your family or your small business.
Lori Duchrow, Rhinelander