The President has been holding rallies all over the country to let everyone know how much progress he has made accomplishing his campaign promises. Americans are anxious to learn the details.
As reported in the Huffington Post:
WASHINGTON — It’s a centerpiece of President Barack Obama’s health care remake, a lifeline available right now to vulnerable people whose medical problems have made them uninsurable.
But the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan started this summer isn’t living up to expectations. Enrollment lags in many parts of the country. People who could benefit may not be able to afford the premiums. Some state officials who run their own “high-risk pools” have pointed out potential problems.
“The federal risk pool has definitely provided critical access, in some cases lifesaving access, to health insurance,” said Amie Goldman, chair of a national association of state high-risk insurance pools. “That said, enrollment so far is lower than we would have expected.” Goldman runs the Wisconsin state pool, as well as the federal plan in her state.
California, which has money for about 20,000 people, has received fewer than 450 applications, according to a state official. The program in Texas had enrolled about 200 by early September, an official in that state said. In Wisconsin, Goldman said they’ve received fewer than 300 applications so far, with room for about 8,000 people in the program.
That’s not how it was supposed to work.
So let’s look at one example of a person who has registered for the new, federally subsidized, pre-existing condition insurance option:
Preschool teacher Gail O’Brien, 52, was uninsured and facing cancer treatments that would have left her family deeply in debt. She now pays $495 monthly for a plan with a $5,000 annual deductible. She has a type of immune system cancer, and just one chemotherapy treatment runs to $16,000.
“When I was diagnosed, they told me I had a 60 percent chance of being cured,” said O’Brien, of Keene, N.H. “That’s pretty good odds, but I was also terribly worried about finances. Now I don’t feel like we can’t afford the treatment. It’s manageable to us … and I know I’m going to beat this.”
Obama announced the plan last fall in his health care speech to Congress.
“For those Americans who can’t get insurance today because they have pre-existing medical conditions, we will immediately offer low-cost coverage that will protect you against financial ruin if you become seriously ill,” he pledged.
The article continues at HP.
So let’s see what that “low-cost coverage” will cost a person in Connecticut where the official announcement begins:
Connecticut’s Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan now offers a comprehensive health benefits package at limited out-of-pocket cost to you. Federal subsidies to lower your costs are provided through the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (national health care reform).
From the Costs and Benefit page:
CT Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan
Monthly premium rates by age group
Under 30 $ 285.16
30-34 $ 315.10
35-39 $ 323.81
40-44 $ 358.71
45-49 $ 413.32
50-54 $ 507.08
55-59 $ 627.78
60-64 $ 776.52
65+ $ 893.00
I. Annual Deductibles:
(The amount you pay out-of-pocket for covered services before the plan begins to cover your medical costs)
In-Network $1,250 per individual $2,500 per family
Out-of-Network $3,000 per individual $6,000 per family II. Annual Out-of-Pocket Maximum: Deductible and co-insurance combined (Only out-of-pocket expenses for covered services count toward the out-of-pocket maximum)
In-Network $4,250 per Individual $8,500 per family
Out-of-Network $15,000 per Individual $30,000 per family
By my reckoning, this “affordable” plan would cost a person who makes $20 per hour a quarter of their gross income or $11,000 a year. Could you afford a 25% cut in income to pay for insurance? For a person making minimum wage, this insurance for one person would be 75% of their income.
But we were told this was vital because of the millions of “uninsured” people, right?
No, from the announcement we find that like many states, such as Connecticut, already provides a safety net for citizens who need assistance.
Health coverage is complicated, as we all know, but there are two basic things to point out up-front about the Connecticut Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan. First, it’s open to Connecticut residents who have qualified, diagnosed medical conditions. Second, you have to be uninsured for six months before you’re eligible.
Another important note before we go further – if it turns out that you’re not eligible for the Connecticut Pre-existing Condition Insurance Program, we have other health coverage options for you to consider – especially, the Charter Oak Health Plan, which also covers Connecticut residents with or without pre-existing conditions.
The question is why, if affordable insurance was already available on a state by state basis, was it necessary to pass a 2500 page bill opposed by 70% of voters that will cost trillions of dollars and raise the deficit to astronomical levels? And what are the federal subsidies paying for, if the federal insurance costs more than the state plan?
What will happen when all those people who were promised free health care for everyone find out that they have to pay enormous premiums and deductibles?