HealthcareThe following is Part 1 in a series of posts regarding one slightly middle-aged, uninsured gal’s search for affordable, quality health care coverage in the age of Obamacare.

In spite of the current battle in Washington, where the immediate toll for Congress’s feckless legislative filibustering will injure all but those who’ve waged it (their toll, depending on who “wins” in this latest of fiscal folderols, comes due only in the next election cycle and not a minute sooner – and for some, not even then), I have decided to simply pretend like it’s not happening and go ahead and try to sign up for Obamacare anyway, because this law was made for you and me.

Really, it was! You see, in spite of being a good patient with a history of alcoholism (emphasis on the word history) managing my diabetes fairly well, I nevertheless belong squarely in the “Pre-Existing Condition” category of patient, and therefore (in the great state of California, at least), just by those very facts am rendered what’s lovingly known by insurers everywhere as “uninsurable”. Obamacare is supposed to render that point moot – now they have to cover me anyway. HA!

And yet, I still find myself skeptical as to whether it can actually come to pass. Even though October 1 was the day for everyone who needs coverage to begin shopping via what are being called “Exchanges” (which are, essentially, health insurance carrier marketplaces where one finds a plan that will work for them based on their healthcare and financial needs in exchange for coverage. Handy, no?), I still wonder if any of it’s actually possible, let alone actually going to happen.

See, in addition to various and sundry glitches  in the sign-up process reported throughout the week, there’s also been rumor and rumors of rumors that, in order to avoid covering folks like me, a lot of carriers have thrown the baby out with the bathwater and simply opted out of the private insurance racket altogether, so…I don’t even know what companies are still left to choose from.

And I wonder how much of my past and current medical history, supposedly rendered moot, will still come back to bite me in the pocketbook: OK, so, they can’t hold my alcoholism, diabetes or any other of my multiple and sundry diseases/disorders/conditions/skin tags against me coverage-wise. Sweet! But…will they make up for it by gouging me good and plenty where it counts?

Then there’s the small matter of figuring out who “they” are. …. Read More

Fortunately, after looking around on the interwebs at various and sundry sites that may or may not have led me in the right direction, I had a friend in the know slip a link into an e-mail to another friend (via one of LifeRing’s delightful e-mail lists) to the following site:

https://www.healthcare.gov/

So I jumped on, and, after clicking on the ‘Apply Now’ button at the bottom of the home page and answering a few simple and easy questions about what state I live in and what kind of coverage I’m looking for (for myself or family? What is my household’s annual income? Do I want information about Pre-Existing Conditions policies and plans?), I was directed to visit my state’s exchange at https://www.coveredca.com/, where I would ostensibly click on a series of buttons, which would walk me through answering various questions to determine what plans are available (i.e. “right”) for me.

Except…this process is slow-going…the site is likely overwhelmed by people just like me, all trying to click on the same buttons that seemingly go nowhere while my Google Chrome wheel goes round and round, round and round, so…while I wait, I also peruse the following handy-dandy PDF:

https://www.coveredca.com/PDFs/English/booklets/CC_Health_Plans_Booklet-8-6-13.pdf

It gives a tremendous amount of information – plan rates and carriers first by county, then by zip code (known as “Regions”), and so on and so forth. Since I won’t qualify for any subsidies, most of it doesn’t apply to me, and, since the wheel never stopped turning, I simply skipped to the bottom of the PDF and decided to start calling companies listed in my region and see how far I get on my own.

NEXT TIME: How Far I Got