Stop John D. Thomas if you’ve heard this one:
For the first time in my professional life, I am in the position that I have to buy my own health care insurance. I had heard people were having difficulty with the process, but recently I have written and edited a lot of information about the Affordable Care Act and the new health insurance exchanges, so I felt familiar with the territory and ready to sign up. In addition, my wife is an attorney with a master’s degree in education, so I knew that with our two minds on the case, the process would be a snap.
Guess what happened? Go ahead. Guess.
And then two days after we started, our patience snapped, and we decided to forgo buying insurance off of the exchange to purchase a policy on the open market at about five times the rate we were quoted on the exchange.
What happened? Well, what happened is much akin to Lord Palmerston’s famous* quip about the Schleswig-Holstein question:
“Only three people,” said Palmerston, “have ever really understood the Schleswig-Holstein business—the Prince Consort, who is dead—a German professor, who has gone mad—and I, who have forgotten all about it.”
Nobody knows what’s involved in getting an Obamacare account. Nobody. Not the people using it, not the people navigating it, not the states, not the federal government, nobody. John Thomas – an Obamacare supporter – eventually ended up just buying much more expensive insurance outside of the exchange largely because at least that way he could be quoted a reliable price.
Pay attention to that word, by the way. “Reliable” is going to be the Holy Grail for anybody stuck in the gears of healthcare next year. Because, really: people get annoyed and aggrieved about adverse conditions. They get terrified by uncertainty.
*For given values of ‘famous.’ If you have no idea at all, at all, then I heartily recommend that you pick up Royal Flash by George MacDonald Fraser… actually, no. Just pick up everything by George MacDonald Fraser, and by the time you are done you will discover that you have learned quite a bit about 19th century history out of sheer self-defense.