So much for Obamacare

I’m sure many of my readers follow Hope ‘n Change cartoons, written by ‘Stilton Jarlsberg’ (sounds like he’s cheesed off about something!).  It appears la famille Jarlsberg has recently been exposed to the joys of Obamacare.  Their existing coverage was canceled, and they’ve had the devil’s own job finding alternatives.  They’ve described the process in four articles (scroll down at the links if necessary to reach the appropriate sections):

Here’s a money quote from the third article above:

Make no mistake, the health insurance system is actively and rapidly collapsing exactly as it was designed to do under Obamacare. The nation’s largest provider of health insurance is giving signals that it may exit the Obamacare market entirely in the near future, other providers are slashing coverage and choice of physicians in the face of poor enrollment numbers, and most of the much-vaunted insurance “co-ops” have already gone out of business.

But take heart. As much as it seems that the whole industry has gone to hell, rest assured that within the next several years we’ll look back on the mess we have now as “the good old days.”

I shudder to think that they’re probably right . . .  Karl Denninger has waxed eloquent about the train wreck that is the US health care system (try this article for a start).  He’s probably reading their comments and saying, “Told you!”  Michelle Malkin has also experienced problems with Obamacare.

I’d be interested in hearing from my readers.  How many of you have had problems finding coverage under Obamacare?  Please tell us a little about it in Comments, so we can compare notes.  Thanks.



  1. I have lost my insurance twice.

    I had to move to an expensive concierge system to keep my doctor I have had for 20 years.

    My out of pocket and premiums have skyrocketed.

    It is a big fight every year to keep the meds I need.

    Total loose loose and now Colorado, where I live, is a test case for ramming through single payer by ballot initiative in 2016.

    Was Obamacare designed to fail and make people receptive to single payer? Darn right! How about a free market in health care??!! That is what we really need.

  2. Like the man said, let me sum up….
    Our insurance company dropped out of the health market, my long time Doctor decided to retire 10 years early because of the BS, the cheapest new compliant insurance was double the monthly cost, and double the deductible. Roughly $500 to $1000, and 2500 to 5K.
    Now that meant in a bad year, if my wife and I got seriously sick, we would be out around $22,000 BEFORE THE INSURANCE PAID A DIME.
    Also, that extra $500 a month was about what we would save and put in our unexpected expenses fund, to have money to cover car repairs, appliances, and, you guessed it, insurance DEDUCTIBLES! The net drain was not supportable.
    So right now we are on the dole, a subsidized plan, for $300 a month. The kicker is we have to be very careful to not make too much money, because then we lose all the subsidy and have to pay it back. That would be about 12 grand or so. Now for a self employed guy to come up with a disposable 12,000 dollars, it means I need to generate about $60,000 or more of business. That is to break even…..
    So essentially, if I make $20,000 a month, work three months, and go over the subsidy dollar limit by $1, I would then pay every dollar of profit back to the government, and have worked my butt off for free.
    That is why I took three months off last summer, and plan to do the same this summer. Hell of an incentive, eh? And expand the biz or hire someone? You gotta be kidding.
    Now take my tiny data point of two, and think about the country as a whole, and it is no wonder disposable income has dried up. It is a Catch 22-
    Either you make enough so the dole is not available, and insurance and deductibles eat all your money, or you go on the dole and make so little you have nothing to spend otherwise.

  3. I lost my insurance because I had opted out of coverage I did not want or need, but that is now required. So I got a less expensive plan but had to pay all of my expenses out of pocket (which I'd been doing before.) They went out of business this year, so I am on a twice as expensive plan (eats 25% of my income from my half-time job) and none of my physicians accept it, so I'm still paying out of pocket for everything, on top of the painfully high premiums. I will have to change dermatologists, because they require you to state if you have {brand} insurance. Apparently if you have {brand} and pay cash, and {brand} finds out, the docs get punished. I could release a 5th book this coming year, except that insurance has eaten my editing money. I refuse to touch the exchanges and subsidies until there is no other option.


  4. My health insurance is provide through the employer I retired from. We are going to be 'taxed/fined' for having a 'Cadillac insurance policy'. The union and the employer are trying to find a way to down-grade our health insurance to get under the upper-limits of Obummercare. The 'tax/fine' is 45% of the appraised value of the policy. I don't have that kind of money!

  5. I was lucky, compared to most. If I am remembering correctly…

    Year one, ACA: my out-of-paycheck cost to keep insurance, Preferred Provider networks doubled. I went to an HSA, catastrophic plan, that cost me about the same as my previous year's coverage, and lost that low deductable, low premium plan.

    Year two, ACE: cost doubled again. Still on the HSA. Insurance company we were with folded, we had to get a new one on the double quick.

    Year three, ACA: Had to change insurance companies *again.* Cost only 50% increase. PPO plan no longer offered. *Everyone* in the company, not a small company at that, is now on catastrophic coverage plan. High deductables all the way. Out of network? Fuggedaboudit. You pay that 100% out of pocket. Insurer is recommending we *check if the hospital is in-network* before going to the *ER.* No $#!+. Going to the doc for routine checkup? Make darn sure he codes it "preventative," otherwise you probably will pay the entire cost of the visit out of pocket.

    Costs have gone up, coverage has gone down, insurance companies are giving us less for what we pay for (and hard to blame them, what they had shoved down their throats), individuals and whole *companies* are being punished twice over for what little successes they can earn… Typical mess of a government program. And it's going to get worse before it can get any better, unfortunately.

  6. I live in Spain and we have social medicine OK OK. I am at present in Miami with the family. My 87year old mother in law got a chest cold, so we found a doctor for her . 150 dollars for the consultation and another 100 dollars for the antibiotic . In Spain the whole deal would have been 2 dollars out of pocket. Just sayin'.

  7. We've been lucky. Lots of paperwork and provider company / plan song-and-dance changes, but due to the wife's job insurance hasn't been bad. On the other hand, her take-home pay doesn't even cover the property tax on the house. But that may change next year as the provider HMO is being bought out by our previous provider, but no details at all on how the plan change will shake out.

    A story from the other side of it – a college friend of mine had went into medicine. He sold his practice a year or two ago after putting up the good fight as long as he could, but he realized he could make more with a lot less hassle as a bee-keeper (yes, really, a friggin' agricultural worker wrangling bee-hives!) than as a rural primary-care general practice doc. The person he sold the practice to went under early this year (or maybe it was late last year).

  8. Like many, I was forced onto Medicare ("you're turning 65, join Mediscare now or else…") from my former employer's retiree policy. Start mad scramble to decipher completely undeciperhable Mediscare supplemental policies, etc., seek assistance with a competent medical insurance broker, discover which policies from whom are my best bet, cross fingers, take the plunge. My costs didn't go up, but actually declined about $350/year, and I haven't seen a noticeable decline in the service I'm receiving from my doctors (although my urologist told me to stop scheduling annual checkups and call him only if I start experiencing problems; I have no idea if that's due to low mediscare/supplemental insurance reimbursements, he didn't answer tnat question when i asked).

    I do receive – many months after the doctor visit – the statements from mediscare showing what the doctor billed, what mediscare actually paid, and match them to the online statements from my supplemental provider to see what the delta was.
    I am astounded at the costs billed – example: $350 for a PSA blood test and $425 for a 5 minute office visit with the finger-probe prostate check. Mediscare, of course, pays only a very small piece of those figures, and the supplemental insurtance payment brings the total up to slightly more than 55% of the billed figure.

    It's just as bad from my general practitioner – he bills $225 for a 10-minute office visit, over $600 for annual standard blood work (CBC, cholesterol, etc.). So called "costs" are in the realm of fantasy and make me wonder if the outrageously inflated cost figures aren't part of a tax dodge of some sort to show paper losses for an annual write-off.

    So far I'm not in bad shape and much better than many, both financially and coverage-wise, but this insanity will soon collapse of its own weight and being the entire system down. Which, of course, is the point of the whole leftist enterprise.

  9. I have Tricare for military retirees. The reimbursement rates are unsupportably low but I can still find a few doctors willing to take me (and hospitals who don't have a choice). The doctors consider it their patriotic duty to help a Vet. That's right. My earned government issued insurance is considered to be a charity by the people who take it.

  10. We're lucky in that we get insurance through my husband's work. However in order to keep from being fined for having a "cadillac plan" our costs have gone up astronomically and there have been a bunch of restrictions of coverage on things that weren't restricted before.

    Husband's primary care doctor switched from "normal" practice to a "pay a flat fee cash and get all basic care for the year" practice, though they will submit any additional charges to our insurance for us for things that don't fall under that plan. As a result my husband's care is about 100 times better than mine. We've been trying to figure out how to afford to switch me over to the same office……

    I thought getting in to see MY primary doctor had become bad under the new changes. Till I had to see a rheumatologist. Apparently rheumatology isn't a highly sought after field for new doctors, and its a field with a growing list of patients in it. If I call to try to get an appointment with the doctor (vs a PA) I can expect that it'll take at least 2 months (and maybe longer) before there's an empty spot to see the doctor. Based on reports of whats happening with the primary care offices I forsee that happening with "normal" doctors in fairly short order. Not amused…..

  11. I have had to scramble to keep my mother covered, as her insurance company shut down. I did manage to keep her current doctor, at just 250% of the old premium and a higher deductible.

    For myself, I have gone with much higher deductibles and am paying cash to my doctor, not using the insurance.

  12. I guess I've been lucky. Retired .gov worker using MH policy carried over from work. NOT buying Medicare part B.
    Wife went into hospital for two weeks + one week of hospice. Bills started coming in; Medicare part A paid $31K and told me I owed ~$27K. Ouch, but I could probably pay it AFTER probate. And then the doctor bills start showing up with billed amount(usually$000.00, insurance paid(usually $000.00 a'mts, allowable deduction – which I was told is what Med part b allows them to charge – and what I owe. Most of them have been running <$200, but when we're talking about 24 docs + tests it does add up.
    THEN I got another statement from Medicare with the original billing from the hospital. $375,000 10 days JUST hospital costs without doctors and tests.
    Denniger's right we need to start hanging the bast**ds. And yet I still can't bitch too hard because so far I am only out about $1500.00 out of pocket. And her treatment was first class as far as I could tell.
    Oh yeah, and my premium is going down a little next year because it's just for me .now

  13. Missed a "0" on the "billed amount" for doctor bills. Most of them ran $0000.00 And the insurance did pay something against the hospital bill as well. I just don't remember what it was.

  14. I guess I'm "fortunate" – I've never been employed anywhere that offered medical insurance, but since I was already disabled when the Navy finally made me retire, I've always gone to the VA.
    Although there are copious horror stories about various VA facilities, here in Nebraska we're well-off; the staff (from front desk to doctors to various labs) are all pleasant and hard-working. We get appointments promptly – forex, a few minutes ago, I called to get some things done and they are seeing me on the 24th.
    Since I'm now 68, I'm immune to the 0bamacare demon.

  15. I suspect that, as a person who's always purchased his insurance on the individual market, I'm one of the "luckier ones" in that I haven't seen much change.

    I have the same insane premiums, sky-high co-pays and silly hoops to jump through that I had before. The differences have been a few percent one way or the other.

    Save $2k a year … yeah, riiiight.

  16. I haven't had insurance since I left college a year ago. I was looking at getting insurance for 2016, but I decided against it because the premiums are sky high even with a very high deductible. I'd just be throwing away money I don't have, because it's most unlikely I will need significant medical care as a healthy 30 year old.

    I'm still looking for a catastrophic plan, and I'll just pay the penalty for not having required coverage. The only thing I'm really worried about is having an accident, as I ride a motorcycle regularly. So far, I'm pretty sure I can't get a catastrophic plan in this state, but I haven't put a ton of time into it yet.

  17. roughcoat:

    check your motorcycle insurance coverage, and see if you can bump your medical coverage part upwards. IIRC, that used to be an option, back when I was able to ride, but it's been some years since then.

  18. The sooner you guys get proper UHC the better. Switching to something like the UK's NHS would save you approx $1T a year (assuming the politicians don't spend it).

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