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What did you have before obamacare?
Old 11-06-2015, 10:38 AM   #1
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What did you have before obamacare?

I see a lot of threads concerning the affordable care act, what did you folks have before this was passed? As early retirees you had to have something , a big illness would have wiped you out. I'm not familiar with the fine points of enrollment , I myself even called a few years ago to see if I had to register and buy something as I heard about a penalty if you didn't have insurance, turns out my Union health plan was fine and I didn't have to do anything. As a finance site I'm sure everyone had some kind of plan, that like not have homeowners insurance in my opinion.

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Old 11-06-2015, 10:43 AM   #2
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Prior to the passage of the Affordable Care Act, I had been covered first through COBRA and eventually on to retiree health care benefits from my former employer.

Due to that, I haven't personally gone through the ACA process but I have directed friends to this site ( and said I thought it is a good resource to learn more. That was especially true as it was being rolled out, I think.


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Old 11-06-2015, 11:00 AM   #3
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Prior to ACA, I had a small group plan for me and DW through our local Chamber of Commerce. Pricing and benefits were pretty similar to a bronze level ACA plan.
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Old 11-06-2015, 11:06 AM   #4
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I kinda fall right in the sweet spot, but with a bit of problem...

Lost job just before the first ACA signup.... but could go on COBRA if needed...

Then they had the disaster website.... so signed up for a short term plan to get me over the hump since it was much cheaper than COBRA.... when I got the plan I found out the took my DW and kids, but not be (preexisting condition)....

Finally got on an ACA plan for 2014...

Got a temp job... eventually got health insurance, so off ACA... temp job ended and have not had another since..

So, back on ACA for this year.... still on it...

I have to say that I am now for the ACA in some ways.... I was refused insurance even though my 'condition' cost $10 to $15 a month for a drug... and two doc visits a year... heck, my DW has had two foot surgeries and a knee surgery and has cost much more than me.... but she is 'insurable' and I am not...

I am not trying to get this banned... just saying what my history has been over the last couple of years... and the frustration of 5 different policies with 4 companies in less than 2 years....
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Old 11-06-2015, 11:09 AM   #5
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I had employer provided healthcare until mid 2014 when I retired.
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Old 11-06-2015, 11:11 AM   #6
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Prior to Obamacare I was unable to obtain health insurance for my wife and myself due to pre-existing conditions. The only way I was finally able to get (very expensive) coverage was by starting a homestead based business and then getting a group plan for the two of us. I find it amusing when people complain about the Obamacare deductibles. The only plan I was able to afford had a $10,000 deductible and paid for absolutely nothing before deductible was met, had a mile long list of exclusions and had a family lifetime limit of $1 M if I recall correctly. When Obamacare came along at a reasonable price and lower deductibles (I chose the bronze plan) and I had a basically free colonoscopy I was as happy as the proverbial pig..
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Old 11-06-2015, 11:16 AM   #7
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I was in a state high risk pool due to a very obscure pre-existing condition - small cyst in little toe bone. Insurance was quite a bit higher than what DH paid for individual insurance. We were both with the same insurance company as that company administered the state plan.

DH's deductible was quite a bit higher before ACA and both of us had lifetime limits, which went away after ACA. I think the max OOP for each of us dropped too.

The monthly cost certainly did, and we were both able to select HSA compatible plans.

I also "enjoyed" my free colonoscopy. We paid several thousand for DH's back in 2009.
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Old 11-06-2015, 11:17 AM   #8
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I was laid off from my second Megacorp in April 2013. By this time ACA had survived the major Supreme Court challenge so I was confident it would be there as a backstop come January 2014. So after my layoff we got a short-term catastrophic plan for May-December 2013 and then I went on ACA insurance in 2014. My wife's employer sponsored insurance for her starting in January 2014 but couldn't afford to insure both of us.

So in 2014 and early 2015 I was on a Marketplace plan but became eligible for an employer plan again in May 2015, which is where I am now.
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Old 11-06-2015, 11:41 AM   #9
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I left Megacorp in May '13, I was done(I retired before I ran away). I'd met with a broker couple of years before, she said I was hosed. Preexisting conditions that would be only covered by states high deductible pool after I didn't have coverage for 6 months.

Left on COBRA, signed up for ACA end of 13. After the October 31st code release was stable and my policy was 40% less(with subsidy) and a higher level coverage. Kept that same plan, might rethink lesser coverage for next year don't know. Based on price for next years the ACA plan will now be the cost I was paying for COBRA in 13, I'm including subsidy. Overall it's been a breeze, I'm forgetting my frustration with the morons who rolled the code out 30 days early, not like I've ever seen that done before.
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Old 11-06-2015, 11:54 AM   #10
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As an entrepreneur,I had been on an individual plan for many years and prior to getting that plan had to undergo underwriting which was a true pain in the rear process. Fortunately, I was very healthy and eventually got on the plan. The cost of the plan rose dramatically over the years as adjustments would be made for age and rising healthcare costs. To keep it affordable, I kept shifting to higher deductibles. I was glad to finally get on an ACA plan and have the option to shop around without having to worry about pre-existing conditions. Next year I go on Medicare and am already looking at the options. I'm not crazy about HMOs so will likely go with traditional Medicare, a supplementary plan and part D drug plan.
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Old 11-06-2015, 11:56 AM   #11
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COBRA, and repeatedly applying for coverage (at incrementally rising prices). The secret was to not get any medical care for about 18 months, to let those pesky "in the past year, did you ever..." questions age out, while trying for a package about 50% more expensive than the cheapest with similar high deductibles and copayment.

Then they liked us enough to take our checks.

There was a high risk pool available, but the waitlist was huge, and we'd have to be without coverage just to be wait listed. I did arrange to be on an HMO plan when I left work, which gave me an extra 18 months of COBRA, for a total of 36 months. Really expensive, though.

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Old 11-06-2015, 12:01 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by audreyh1 View Post
I was in a state high risk pool due to a very obscure pre-existing condition - small cyst in little toe bone. Insurance was quite a bit higher than what DH paid for individual insurance. We were both with the same insurance company as that company administered the state plan.

DH's deductible was quite a bit higher before ACA and both of us had lifetime limits, which went away after ACA. I think the max OOP for each of us dropped too.

The monthly cost certainly did, and we were both able to select HSA compatible plans.

I also "enjoyed" my free colonoscopy. We paid several thousand for DH's back in 2009.
Thought I'd never here of another "pre-existing condition" like my wife's. She had a (synovial) cyst on one of her toes. Doctor wanted to operate, but she had it drained/medicated by injection and it has not been an issue since (knock on wood). I thought it was crazy that they would permanently exclude her toe from any medical coverage when we signed up for individual policies. It was upsetting to have the same Insurance Company (BCBS) covering us for medical at work to exclude things they were currently treating and covering when we applied for individual policies.

I actually had permanent exclusion for thyroid and any related issues as the VA said I had a thyroid condition (hypothyroid). Turns out I developed sensitivity to the meds, and no longer take medication for it. Went to a specialist and he said I had Hashimoto's disease, but since I don't exhibit symptoms - I don't need to take the medication now.

Our individual policies (decent pricing) were cancelled by BCBS and they forced us over to ACA. There was a little back and forth with we will/won't cover you, but we ended up with ACA as even though the price was higher than our existing policies - they were still cheaper than quoted by BCBS with the changes implemented.

FYI - our current policy coverages on the ACA has been discontinued by BCBS this year, and we'll be paying increases in the range of +/- 35% for what I consider very poor coverage compared to current coverage. Didn't take Ins. Co.s long to figure out how to manipulate the ACA system....
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Old 11-06-2015, 12:02 PM   #13
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I live in MA so could have had Romneycare if I was not able to get insurance from my ex-employer.
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Old 11-06-2015, 12:15 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by audreyh1 View Post
I was in a state high risk pool due to a very obscure pre-existing condition - small cyst in little toe bone.
It's amazing what was considered a pre-existing condition, and grounds for rejection of an application for individual health insurance policy (or worse, termination of an existing policy!!), before the ACA went into effect. I used to joke that they'd turn you down for a hangnail.

Which wasn't all that far from reality. Back when I was jumping thru hoops trying to get my own insurance pre-ACA (my story is below), I was searching the web and came across a document listing medical conditions that would trigger either a more detailed review of a health insurance application, or an outright denial of coverage. The list of conditions was lengthy and infuriating. (I suspect this document was not meant for public consumption, I found it in a folder on some insurance agents website. I downloaded it -- hey, they were dumb enough to put it in a publicly-accessible folder! I'll see if I can dig it up and post it here).

Anyhoo, here's my story:

I left my Fine Former Employer in the fall of 2010, and started doing consulting work. I applied for an individual health insurance policy rather than pay the huge cost for COBRA.

Since I was in excellent heath, I figured I'd have no trouble getting a policy. Boy was I wrong. I was turned down flat by every provider I applied to.

Why? Because I was in a bad bike crash the year before (at which time I was on my employer's plan). The rejection letters all stated I did not meet their underwriting criteria, and included a list of the treatments I had the previous year as justification for the rejection. Basically, being in an accident the year before was considered a pre-existing condition.

Only one insurance provider, Kaiser Permantente, deigned to grant me the opportunity to request reconsideration of my application. I trooped out to all of the doctors who treated me the year before for the injuries I had sustained in the accident. They all very willingly wrote letters describing my treatments, stating that I had completely recovered from the injury for which I was being treated. I sent those four letters, together with a lengthy cover letter (basically, begging them to pleeeeese insure me ) to Kaiser, and within a couple of weeks I received the "Welcome to Kaiser" packet in the mail.

When ACA enrollment time came around, I decided to stay with Kaiser. I've been very pleased with Kaiser and have had no reason to change.

Am I still bitter about all the BS I had to go thru to get coverage before the Affordable Care Act went into effect? Heck yeah. I'm grateful that I was able to jump through all those hoops and ultimately secure coverage. I felt bad at the time for the people who ever had cancer or any other condition that was grounds for automatic rejection with no appeal. At least once the ACA went into effect, those individuals were finally able to get coverage.
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Old 11-06-2015, 12:15 PM   #15
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Megacorp til I left. Then, private insurance (healthy, no pre-existing stuff) until decided to get insurance off exchange. Now thinking of the exchange plan with tax credits.
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Old 11-06-2015, 12:21 PM   #16
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We had retiree health insurance from DHs retirement system. In 2010 they had 3 choice levels, we picked the lowest premium/highest deductible plan (still not anywhere near a "high deductible" but higher than more expensive choices) and there was an allowance for the retiree and a much smaller one for the spouse so this plan cost us around $40/mo.

In 2013 they changed it all so that there were no longer choices in plans, everyone had to have the same highest level plan. The cost to us jumped to about $450/mo after our allowances.

Then they started eliminating the allowance for spouses so that same plan for 2014 would have been around $575/mo. We chose to try a ACA exchange plan with the same insurance company. We chose a HDHP with HSA which worked out well and the premium was much more reasonable with our ACA subsidy.

For 2015 we stayed with the ACA exchange but moved to a different insurer. It's another HDHP with HSA and comparable cost to last year. Last years insurers cost went way up so we tried a different insurer and it's been great, very pleased with this one.

Now that insurer no longer has any HDHP plans, our current plan went up $266/month more and since it's no longer HSA eligible (the deductible is too high!) we are considering another insurer, but we would have to change providers. We are thinking seriously about this move.

We are still eligible for the retiree plan, DH would still have his allowance, mine is almost gone, but our cost this year for the only plan offered, a Cadillac level plan, would be $665/mo.
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Old 11-06-2015, 12:28 PM   #17
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COBRA for balance of 2014 after retiring mid-year, then ACA exchange plan that dropped our premiums in half for 2015. I had retiree insurance available, but it was even more expensive than COBRA and deductibles and OOP were far worse. It was so bad, that if I'd have taken it they probably would never cancel it - too big a moneymaker!
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Old 11-06-2015, 12:30 PM   #18
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I was an independent contractor through 2008 and had an individual policy at $800/month. I don't remember who it was with. The economy crashed and I ended up at a megacorp and now I am on employer insurance. I'm glad I'll be able to get insurance when I retire next year.
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Old 11-06-2015, 12:31 PM   #19
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I had a variety of things in the 7 years between my employer's group health plan and the plan I obtained in 2014 thanks to the ACA.

First, I was on COBRA for the last 17 months of work even though I was still working. This was because I had voluntarily reduced my weekly hours worked from 20 to 12 back in 2007 and had become ineligible to remain in the group health plan.

Next, when COBRA expired in late 2008, one month after I ERed at the end of October, I signed up for an individual plan I had already checked out before I ERed. It was through GHI and its cost ($470 a month) fit into my ER budget. That worked out okay until GHI raised their monthly premium by 50% over the next 2 years, putting it nearly $700 per month the start of 2011 and threatening to bust my budget.

I then switched to a bare-bones, hospital-only plan in the middle of 2011. I knew I was underinsured but by 2011 the ACA had been passed and open enrollment would begin at the end of 2013 for new plans starting in January of 2014. So I'd be in this inadequate plan (not ACA-compliant) for only 2 1/2 years.

I have been in an ACA plan since the start of 2014 which is good because I had some major health issues earlier this year (I am feeling fine now), some of which are ongoing. The premiums are rising a lot but are still lower than the $470 I was paying back in 2009. And at least I have choices. That is, I can switch to another plan (company and/or metal) without fear of being rejected due to my now pre-existing condition.

Thank goodness for the ACA!
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Old 11-06-2015, 12:37 PM   #20
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Pre ACA NY had very high premiums, probably double anywhere else. This was because NY did not permit sickness or age to be considered in policies. That is a real problem without a mandate for everyone to get coverage. Only the sick signed up and premiums skyrocketed.

Fortunately, I had employer coverage pre ACA. Megacorp had a UHC "Select Choice" plan. I am currently on the UHC "Community Plan", aka Medicaid, which has the same doctor network as the work plan.

I would probably not have retired without the ACA in place since I have chronic health conditions.

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