fresh voices from the front lines of change







As I watch the talking heads all clutch their pearls over the insurance exchange website, I can't help but notice once again that none of them seem to know a thing about what's really happening out here to people who have to deal with the private insurance market. I'm sure they have the best cadillac plans in the world and don't think too much about how a person who doesn't have one makes health care decisions.

Right now insurance companies are sending letters to most of their private insurance clients telling them that their rates are going up substantially next year. They are, and that's because the new law mandates better coverage. Most of the people who've been buying lousy coverage have done so because they don't have enough money to pay for the good stuff. Therefore they will likely be eligible for subsidies under Obamacare.

Take my word for it: people in this situation will not throw up their hands and give up just because the exchange web-site isn't working well at the outset. They will keep trying. The status quo is no longer operative and the money involved is just too substantial for them not to. My husband and I are very healthy people who pay a lot for insurance because we are old. People like us are going to do whatever it takes to sign up on the exchanges. We can't afford not to. There are plenty of people like us out there and we are as much of a necessity to the system working as are the young (maybe even more-so -- healthy older adults are willing to pay a whole lot of money into the system for peace of mind.)

So, we know that the most desperate people --- those with pre-existing conditions who have been denied health insurance --- will not give up. We know that people with lousy private insurance who have been informed that their policies will be improved and their premiums will increase next year will not give up. I'm going to guess that people who already have good insurance will not give up either, just in case they might qualify for a savings.

The only people who might give up are people who are not insured already and who don't think they're going to need it --- that's mostly young people in their 20s. That's always been the toughest group to persuade and this is just another roadblock.They are reachable, however. It's just going to take extra effort.

But the idea that people like me, adults who are already paying through the nose for private insurance and who have been informed their premiums on the open market are going way up, will just forget about getting insurance through the exchanges is silly. It's too much money. Most people are probably doing what I'm doing --- waiting for the rush to die down and the glitches to be straightened out. I have every intention of signing up for insurance on the exchange. I can't afford not to.

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