Obamacare Update

I finally got through the application process, which admittedly was difficult given my iffy connection and the system glitches. I had to do some tricks in order to get through but I finally did. (In case anyone is having issues, try creating a new account. Also, if you are stuck at the to-do list and can’t get through, click the link for help on each item. Somehow clicking that link, despite everything being locked, opened it up for me. I imagine I was playing a game of Myst or something.)

Before we go into the plan information I found, I want to be able to compare the plans with the same criteria. So let’s use these estimates:

According to my research an average trip to the doctor for an illness costs $150. Need your blood checked for about three things? $60. One trip to the ER might cost you $700. Say you need to take daily generic heartburn medication, that costs $50 a month. (These numbers are all actual costs and do not factor in insurance) Let’s estimate in one year:

3 trips to the doctor for illnesses: $450
Blood tests, because those are fun: $60
1 ER visit: $700
Prescriptions for the year: $600
Total: $1810/year

Here’s the information I got about the plans available. First of all, I anticipate I’ll get a job at some point so I estimated my income to be around $37,000. That number seemed high enough to not qualify me for subsidies, but reasonable enough to not get my hopes up intrinsically. I used Oklahoma as my state for right now. As a single female who doesn’t smoke (yes, they can still charge you more for smoking), here are the numbers I got:

Bronze plan

The cheapest plan is $103.06/month with a $6000 deductible, but you have to pay for full doctor visits and generic medications until you reach your deductible.
Premium per year: $1236.72
Typical yearly healthcare costs (from above): $1810 (You’d have to pay for these in full until you reached the $6000 deductible)
Total cost for year: $3046.72

Silver plan

The cheapest plan is $154.82/month with a $6000 deductible, but I don’t like it, so let’s use the next cheapest option. Why? Because now I have choices! $161.24/month with a $3000 deductible. The copays are $35 for doctor, $0 for generic meds, and 20% coinsurance on diagnostics after deductible is met.
Premium per year: $1,934.88
Typical yearly healthcare costs (from above, factoring in copays): $865

Doctor visits: $105
Blood tests: $60
1 ER Visit: $700
Prescriptions for the year: $0

Total cost for the year: $2799.88

Gold plan

The cheapest plan is $198.99/month with a $3000 deductible, but surprise! I like lower deductibles so let’s go with the next options: $205.35/month with a $1500 deductible. $10 copays, no charge for generics, and still the 20% for diagnostics. ER visits are going to cost you an arm and an leg no matter what plan you choose.

Premium for the year: $2,464.20
Typical yearly healthcare costs: $180

Doctor visits: $30
Blood tests: $60
1 ER visit: $700
Prescriptions for the year: $0

Total cost for the year: $2644.20


So even though it might cost you more monthly, the better plans will save you money in the long run. This reminds me of the people who take lump sums when they win the lottery, you get much more money if you receive it in yearly payments instead. So, if you visit the doctor more than three times a year, take medications regularly, and aren’t in perfect health I would recommend either the silver or the gold option. Plus, what if something does happen? Having a lower deductible can save you from traumatic sticker shock when you get that bill for your MRI.

I’m still deciding between plans, but so far I’ve been really impressed with the options. There were 65 plans available to chose from. I enjoyed being able to compare benefits. It was great to just have a choice, period.

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One thought on “Obamacare Update

  1. Pingback: Why Obamacare is Fantastic, Albeit Confusing for Peace Corps Volunteers | Adventures

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