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Tell HN: My first hand experience with Healthcare.gov (a.k.a Obamacare)
5 points by codegeek on Mar 20, 2014 | hide | past | web | favorite | 5 comments
I am a consultant/self employed. I have been on a COBRA plan for the last few months (my wife's ex employer). For a family of 3, we are paying $2100+ for a decent health insurance (vision included but no dental).

I looked at healthecare.gov just to get an idea. Got a plan that has cheaper premium than COBRA even though the benefits are not exactly the same. So I decide to "submit an application".

The worst decision ever. Guess what, if you don't get the subsidy because "you are too rich according to the govt", you are better off buying it directly from the insurance company. They offer same plan/same price but no middleman.

Anyway, too late for me since I have already submitted the application via Marketplace. So now I wait for a couple of days before calling Insurance company to confirm.

For background, I submitted this application on March 11th,2014 which means that my coverage should be active April 1st,2014 (according to healthcare.gov rules [0]). But guess what, the insurance company tells me that my coverage has been activated effective Feb 14,2014. So now I owe them for Feb and March while I am double paying COBRA premium as well.

Big software glitch on their part OR a badly designed logic of some sort.

Fellow HN'ers, if you are not qualifying for the subsidy (most of us don't anyway), please refrain from using healthcare.gov and go directly to the insurance company. There is no law that you have to buy using the exchange. I didn't know that and was too stupid. Now I am paying the price.

So I have been on the phone with healthcare.gov for 45 mins and they are trying to "correct" it using their IT systems. God knows whats next. I wanted to share this not just to rant but to warn anyone in my situation.

[0]: https://www.healthcare.gov/what-key-dates-do-i-need-to-know/#part=2

Our experience is significantly different than yours.

My wife and I are on a Gold ACA plan through WA healthcare.gov. Without subsidy, our premiums are about 60% of what COBRA premium were going to be for similar plan. Outside the healthcare.gov, insurance companies quoted premiums that were 50-100% more than COBRA premium for similar coverage.

We couldn't afford health insurance premiums from COBRA or open market if it wasn't for ACA.

BTW, subsidy is based on your income and not on your net worth (richness level).

I had a similar experience. ACA Gold Coverage through Healthcare.gov was 50% the cost of hopping on my wife's existing company health plan, 30% cheaper than COBRA, and 80% cheaper than outside quotes. I was actually shocked at how affordable it was.

Thanks for the writeup. I'm in Texas, and we are not allowed any subsidy no matter the income bracket. My experience was that I received a better priced plan off market from an aggressive insurance planner than on market. Specifically about $80/mo less for slightly higher benefits. Young, single men can get the best rates off market. Older individuals may get a better rate on market.

What happens if your past year's income doesn't qualify for the subsidy but the present year looks like it might? Can you submit for a subsidy at the end of this year and get reimbursed?

You will get any subsidy owed to you during your tax returns if you didn't already collect it. If you know your income will be lower you can write a letter stating your expected income and get the subsidy applied every month (at least in my state). In this case, during tax returns, you'd have to pay back any subsidy amount which you didn't deserve.

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