My Experience with North Carolina Obamacare

My Experience with Obamacare

I live in rural northern North Carolina and have not had a stellar experience with Obamacare. Rather, I am a model for a person who is “in the gap,” and confused by the entire system.First, I will say that it is easy to see how some people benefit from Obamacare. The poor, who loose sleep at night because they live without insurance, do have a new opportunity use the medical system. I am also one of those poor, but I’ve always considered a healthy diet and exercise the best medical plan. Let me explain.From 2008 through 2011, I saw a 32% yearly increase in my individual health insurance rates. I purchased my moderately-high-deductible plan through Blue Cross of NC. In those four calendar years I saw my doctor exactly twice. Once was for a blood panel, the other for Whooping Cough that I contracted at work. My local doctor traded music lessons for his kids for the treatments, so insurance didn’t even play a part. My insurance premiums approached one week’s salary each month, so I dropped the policy.

By mandate, I signed-up at my state’s health exchange. I had to consult with a private representative from the closest city (80 miles away), because I didn’t know about applying for Obamacare online. In order to even be eligible for the first year’s federal subsidy, I had to “project” a higher income just to make the bottom tier on the income scale. My state’s exchange uses Blue Cross Blue Shield of NC, which is the company I dropped. My monthly premium (male, 30s, and single), was $220/month for the Silver Plan. Thank goodness, I received a full subsidy.

The second year on Obamacare however, changed. My income did not increase, so I had to project higher once more. The federal subsidy was the same, but my policy premium increased $20, to $240. I contacted both the federal exchange and Blue Cross. Each agency told me that the increase was due to something different in the opposite agency’s system. Surprise, they are not allowed access to each others’ records in order to help me understand the increase. I have not been to the doctor since 2010, I am now paying $20/month for something I don’t use, and again waiting for the next huge increase due to age. This time, I will not be able to make the decision to drop the policy.

Without discussing the condition of the US economy, I will state plainly that I cannot afford a mandated premium, even if it’s just $20. Believe it or not, that money comes from my grocery budget, and sometimes the rent. I am glad more needy people are finding minimal help through Obamacare, but no choice remains in the system at all.

The sad part is if I lived one county over I could had gotten United Healthcare like my cousin has, and that one is better priced and does not have the limited network like BCBS NC has.