In late 2016, Humana notified me that they were no longer offering the health insurance plan I had been purchasing from them for many years. The plan was “grandfathered in” under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), meaning that the plan did not have to comply with all the rules of the ACA (or “Obamacare”, as some call it). It was one of those plans that fell under “if you like your health care plan, you can keep it,” as president Obama famously claimed dozens of times.
In 10 years on this plan, not once did I reach the $2,500 a year deductible on my plan. In other words, the only cost that Humana has incurred on my behalf was the cost of processing paperwork. And yet Humana was now dropping me like a bad habit.
Although the monthly premium had increased from $88 per month in 2007 to $266 per month in 2016, the plan was still better than any ACA-compliant plan available. But now the only plan that Humana or anybody else could offer me was an ACA-compliant plan at $450 per month with a higher deductible and all around much worse coverage.
Obama must have meant to say “if you like your plan, you can keep it…for a while”. Politifact called his claim the “Lie of the Year” for 2013, more than 3 years after the ACA was made law. With intrepid fact checkers like Politifact, who needs enemies?
The entire process of being dumped into a “crappy Obamacare bronze plan”, as leftist film-maker Michael Moore calls my plan, left me ill at ease. It felt like I’d been involuntarily conscripted into a scheme to provide “treatment” and “counseling” to alcoholics, drug users, and hypochondriacs, and also subsidies for people who simply don’t want to pay the true actuarial cost of providing health care. Furthermore, passage of the ACA has taken the pressure has off the health care governmental complex to address systemic waste, fraud and abuse.
Many decisions I’ve made in life are driven by a simple desire to avoid feeling stupid. No one likes participating in something, or interacting with someone, when the outcome is that they are left feel stupid for doing so. It was this reasoning that led me to cut off contact with my only sibling in 2008, as I was always being lied to and financially abused. It is also this reasoning that now caused me to drop my ACA plan and purchase a non-ACA compliant plan for $185 per month. I have been approved for this medically underwitten plan and coverage begins March 1st.
It’s true that my new plan has a superhigh deductible and no “free preventive health care” for things like yoga, therapy animals or chocolate. But I’d rather have this plan than feel stupid and paying 140% more for an ACA-compliant plan. I just don’t want to participate in the ACA – exclamation mark!
“What about the THE PENALTY?” you ask in a whisper while glancing over your shoulder. That is: the penalty for not carrying “government approved” health care coverage. But any payment you might make to the IRS is pursuant to and allowed under the “Individual Shared Responsibility” provision in the ACA.
In summary: it’s not a penalty, it’s a “payment”….. all according to the IRS.
Secondly, the penalty is capped at $695 per person per year. My wife and children have always had better coverage than me, and theirs is a grandfathered Blue Cross / Blue Shield (BCBS) plan that costs $836 per month. My wife is often told at doctor’s office what a great plan it is, and how bad the plans of other patients are. But I digress: the point is that my wife and kids will not be subject to any penalty, only I would be.
This penalty…it kind of looks like a poll tax to me. But I digress again.
Their BCBS plan is medically underwitten, and while it is has also gone up sharply in price since I signed them up for it in 2004, it’s still a “good plan”….as explained above. Therefore, I tried to get on this plan, but BCBS rejected. Their factually correct reasons basically amounted to “you’re old and fat.”
Thirdly, on the day of his inauguration, Trump signed an executive order (EO) with the title “Minimizing the Economic Burden of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act Pending Repeal”. One immediate and practical effect of Trump’s EO is that the IRS will no longer automatically reject your tax return if you fail to tell them whether or not you carry “government approved” health insurance on your tax return.
The appeal of “self-repeal” is thus multi-faceted: by opting out of the ACA, I have the plan I want and don’t feel abused. I save at least $2,500 per year, and probably $3,200 since there will likely be no IRS penalty. “Self-repealing” the ACA also means that I don’t need to wait for our feckless Congress to act. In fact, according to the former Republican speaker of the house, Congress will never repeal it. Sounds like “Donald Trump will never be president” to me, by why take any chances? Self-repeal!
If Donald Trump plans to repeal the ACA by a thousand paper cuts, then I’m all for it because the ACA is really ZeroCare. That’s what I call it, because that’s what it will bring us in the long run. Like all good socialists, ACA proponents ignore human nature and forget the people who they are expecting to pay for “da plan”. They forget the intransigent unwillingness of people like me to participate in their grand social engineering schemes.
If it makes sense for you, then self-repeal like I did. We can compare notes in the rice paddies of the “re-education” camp that our government sends us to.