aNewDomain.net — This week our Ted Rall continues his efforts to enroll in ObamaCare. For the first part of his adventure, in which he struggles through repetitive screens and error messages, click here. As for his commentary below, here’s a spoiler: It is, he says, a disaster.
After enrolling in ObamaCare last week, miracle of miracles, I found myself actually able to comparison shop on New York State’s so-called healthcare marketplace.
You might actually miss this first hurdle if, unlike me, you don’t have a suffix like Jr., Sr., II, III, IV or V in your name. Because then it basically explodes.
Also, it turns out the plans New York State offers do not allow you to go out of network for healthcare.
Translation? You either use a doctor in each private insurer’s list or you don’t get a cent in reimbursement.
But there’s a huge Catch-22. There’s no way to find out whether your doctor, or your local hospital or clinic, is on the list because the site’s primitive search function is “disabled … due to overwhelming response.”
Call me underwhelmed.
So that’s that.
Then there’s the rates. Not low. Not affordable, as Obama said would be comparable to your cellphone bill or less.
New York State’s healthcare plans range from Fidelis Care’s Bronze plan at $810.84 per month to $2,554.71 per month for something I didn’t bother to look up. Because if I had $2,500 plus a month to spend on doctors, I’d buy a doctor and have him or her live with me and dole out pills like I was Michael Jackson.
Worse still, the deductibles — that’s the amount you pay out of pocket every year before the insurer has to give you anything at all — are outrageously high.
Fidelis Care Bronze, for instance, quoted a $3,000-per-year deductible per person. I’m in pretty good health. It’s a rare year I spend that much on doctors. Knock on wood.
And, after the $3,000-a-year deductible, they pay 50 percent of your bills. What? So if you rack up $5,000 per year in medical bills, you pay $4,000 and they pay $1,000. That is damned crappy.
And worst of all — and contrary to the Obama Administration’s claims that we’d be able to apply for subsidies to offset these high insurance rates — there’s no sign of how or where you are able to do this on New York State’s website.
This experience reminds me of Obama’s Make Homes Affordable scheme. That’s the voluntary refinancing plan the big banks used to avoid refinancing mortgages for distressed homeowners.
I knew ObamaCare would be bad, but I seriously had no idea it would be this bad.
For aNewDomain.net, I’m Ted Rall.
Based in Boston, Ted Rall is a nationally-syndicated columnist, editorial cartoonist and war correspondent who specializes in Afghanistan and Central Asia. The author of 17 books, most-recently published The Book of Obama: How We Went From Hope and Change to the Age of Revolt, Rall is twice the winner of the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award and is a Pulitzer Prize finalist. Follow him @TedRall, check out his Facebook fan page and definitely follow his Google+ stream here. Ted’s upcoming book After We Kill You, We Will Welcome You As Honored Guests: Unembedded in Afghanistan is due out in 2014.