PARKVILLE, Mo. -- With the deadline to sign up for health insurance quickly approaching, many people continue to resist going to healthcare.gov. Excuses range from “it’s too complicated” to “I don’t believe in Obamacare” to “I’d rather pay the fine.”
Bridget Harvey of Parkville, Mo., felt the same way. She wanted nothing to do with the federal health exchange. But at the beginning of this year, her health insurance premiums skyrocketed and she realized she needed to shop around. She refused to go without health insurance as it came in handy after a recent medical emergency.
“I had a routine surgery a few years ago and there was an error, and I spent six weeks in a coma,” Harvey said.
She ended up with $1 million in medical bills, and her health insurance company covered most of it. When she decided to shop for a new health insurance plan, she wanted to make sure her doctor and hospital would be in network.
“I was surprised after all the horror stories I had heard,” Harvey said. “Your doctor wouldn’t be there. Your hospital. All the plans had all that and everything I wanted. I was surprised they had so many options.”
Harvey hesitated signing up alone since the website caused her confusion, so she called a health insurance broker to help her sign up. She says it was “easy. I was at home, actually, and he was at his office. We linked computers so I could read what he was doing and it was very simple.”
Forty minutes later, she had health insurance. She said a glitch forced her to pay her premium the next day, but overall, she was happy with the experience. And best of all? She qualified for a subsidy.
“It’s a lot cheaper,” Harvey said. “I didn’t think it would work. That’s what I’d been hearing. And it worked smoothly. It was easy. I could have the doctor and hospital I wanted, and I could afford it.”
Subsidies are based on annual income and are given to anyone who makes 400 percent under the poverty level. For instance, if you are single and make less than $45,960 annually, you will get a subsidy to help lower your health insurance premiums. A family of two needs to make less than $62,040 combined; a family of three $78,120; a family of four $94,200; and a family of five $110,280.