If are self-employed or an independent contractor and have tried to find a health insurance provider recently, you know that things are a lot different than this time last year.
If you missed the open enrollment period to sign up for a new Affordable Care Act approved plan which ended March 31, 2014, then you probably got an unwelcome surprise if you went to a site like "ehealthinsurance" to sign up for a new plan in April.
For about a month after March 31, visitors to sites like that were met with a message that said open enrollment had closed and that it would renew on January 1, 2015. No further information was given.
That left many people asking how they would get health insurance for the rest of the year. Wasn’t this new legislation supposed to provide more people with health insurance?
There were a few exceptions offered. If you had been fired or lost your job, or had a life changing event like a marriage, you could get one of the ACA approved plans before Jan 1, 2015.
Absent that, you were left out in the cold. If you are blocked from purchasing health insurance for a half a year, how does that help you?
Fortunately, the industry introduced a solution and there is another way to buy online health insurance.
How to Buy Insurance
New Six Month Plans Available
One way that they figured out to get around this apparent oversight in the law was to start offering new temporary plans valid for 6 months. I am sure they did this with the blessing of the Department of Health and Human Resources given the way the government has been scrambling during the last 6 months to tweak the law to make it work for more people.
However, these temporary plans have another advantage. They don’t have to comply with the ACA provisions which make them a lot cheaper without losing needed benefits.
For example, if you are a single male and do not think you are going to get pregnant and have a baby anytime soon, you can get a plan that does not force you to have mandatory coverage for maternity care.
Depending on your age, location and other variables, you can get a quote online for basic coverage with a $5000 deductible for around $62 a month.
So for younger, healthier people, this may be a preferred option for low cost health insurance rather than being forced to pay $200 - $300 a month in premiums for a $5000 - $7500 deductible which includes a lot of coverage they do not need or will never use.
Amazingly, I have not seen this advertised or promoted anywhere in the media. Knowing how lazy most media organizations are these days, they probably have no clue.
Buying Health Insurance Online
Affordable Insurance Plans
Over the last decade, I have purchased my own health insurance online, typically going for a mid-range deductible like $5000 - $7500. These types of plan suited my needs perfectly. I was able to get a yearly physical and was allowed 3 doctor’s visit per year that did not count toward my deductible. At most, I would pay around $84 a month, sometimes less. An equivalent plan now would cost me about $240. Same deductible, same yearly physical, only now I would be covered for maternity and substance abuse and several other things I will never need.
However, the politicians came along and decided upon themselves that plans like mine were junk and they were going to fix it for everyone. Only, they didn't fix it for someone like me, they screwed it up.
Currently, I am on a temporary plan that will expire in 6 months. I refuse to pay for one of those $250 a month plans with a deductible as high as the one I have now. And if you are like me and most other working people, that subsidy that they tout is non-existent.
So if you are in a similar boat, take my advice and go get one of these temporary plans. In fact, if you go to a site like ehealthinsurance, this type of plan is the only thing being offered right now for personal health insurance. They cannot offer any ACA approved plans again until January 1, 2015.
I understand that something needed to be done to address an unsustainable healthcare model, but the way this law was written and implemented has been nothing short of a pain in the buttocks for most part-time, contract and self-employed people.
If you ever want to understand what the real problem with the Affordable Care Act is, there is an article by Time magazine that came out a little over a year ago. It is called “Bitter Pill: Why Our Medical Bills Are Killing Us”.
When the article was first released, it was free online. I read all 9 pages of it. The team that researched that should pat themselves on the back because it is excellent. Unfortunately, they have put it on their paid site now so you have to subscribe to read it.
After reading that article, I understood the real problem. The health care industrial complex has successful shifted our attention from the real issue which is cost. Why does it cost so much for an aspirin in a hospital? Read that article and you will understand the games they play.
They have successful altered the conversation from what it should be. Instead of us asking why does everything in healthcare cost so much and why has it exploded in costs at a much higher rate than the inflation rate over the last several decades, they have us fighting over who is going to pay for their overpriced care, ignoring the obvious question.
As the article points out, the Affordable Care Act does nothing to address any of the issues they bring forward in their research. And that is the main issue I have with this ACA legislation. It doesn’t really solve the cost issues, it just creates a bigger mess for all of us.
And part of that mess is being left out in the cold if you fail to apply at the right time for a health insurance plan. Fortunately, the private market solved this issue once again and these new 6 month plans are viable options for the people without employer sponsored healthcare.
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