Opinion

Why I’d Rather Pay the Fine Than Sign Up for Obamacare

Why I’d Rather Pay the Fine Than Sign Up for Obamacare

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Recently I got a notice that Health Net was terminating my family’s medical insurance effective Jan. 1. They offered new “Covered California insurance plans” compliant with the Affordable Care Act to replace my existing coverage. Five tiers of service were outlined: Platinum, Gold, Silver, Bronze and Catastrophic. The Silver plan most closely matched our previous coverage.

See the offered health care plans here.

To calculate the cost of this new plan, a Premium Rate Guide was provided. It is a multi-page chart listing rates for each age and different tables for Los Angeles, San Diego, Riverside, Orange and San Bernardino county residents.

Check out that guide here.

fix san diego opinionA quick analysis reveals San Diego County was the second most costly, about 10 percent higher than the lowest among them. By adding up the cost for each person on the plan, I determined the new family plan would be $10,523 per year, without a subsidy because our annual household income comes to more than $80,000.

The cost of the Obamacare plan is an astounding 58 percent higher than the existing plan’s cost of $6,828. A $4,000 deductible means that only after paying $14,523 will the health care plan provide financial benefit.

If I choose not to purchase government-mandated health care, the IRS will fine me $285 or 1 percent of my income in 2014, whichever is higher. In 2015, the penalty jumps to $975 or 2 percent of my income, and in 2016, it is a fine of $2,085 or 2.5 percent of my income.  (This is the penalty for a family of three.)

Under the Silver plan, my options now are to buy coverage for $10,523 or go without and incur the penalty since I don’t have employer provided coverage. Purchasing a plan means paying $10,523, plus an additional $4,000 deductible I am responsible for even with this coverage.

After I pay $14,523, I’ll incur charges up to an out-of-pocket maximum of $12,700 for a total of $22,700. My family has never spent $10,000 on health care in any one or two-year period. Typically annual outlays would be a tiny fraction of that amount.

As long as family medical expenditures will be $14,250 or less, it would be unwise economically to participate in Obamacare. I’ll incur a fine of $285, but the $10,523 I’ll save on insurance will cover that and $10,000 in medical costs.

Of course without insurance, I will not be covered for any medical conditions and there’s a risk, albeit small, of a medical calamity. If this were to happen, I could sign up for a plan at a later date since insurance companies cannot ban people for a pre-existing condition.

Obamacare is a poor financial proposition for the healthy, semi-healthy or anyone, except for the chronically ill or poor who can receive free or highly discounted coverage. The relatively healthy will find themselves saddled with a hefty effective tax for little direct gain. Like the lottery, this tax will fall largely on the math-deficient who are unable to compute a cost-versus-benefit analysis.

For Obamacare to be financially solvent, the healthy and working must pay in and not make claims to subsidize the unhealthy, old and non-working. Once they realize the true cost, it seems unlikely they will willingly participate.

Michael Robertson is an Internet entrepreneur and the founder of digital music company MP3.com. Robertson’s commentary has been edited for clarity. See anything in there we should fact check? Tell us what to check out here. Want to respond? Submit a commentary.

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Mark Giffin
Mark Giffin

Interesting Read about the health care investment Sector
http://blogs.decisionpoint.com/chart_spotlight/2013/11/2013-11-08cs.html
Decision Point ®: Health Care After Obamacare - Chart Spotlighthttp://blogs.decisionpoint.com/chart_spotlight/2013/11/2013-11-08cs.htmlOne might think that all the turmoil surrounding Obamacare would be having a negative effect the Health Care Sector, but in so thinking, one would be wrong. -------------------------- (This is an excerpt from recent blogs for Decision Point subscribe...

Mark Giffin
Mark Giffin subscribermember

Interesting Read about the health care investment Sector
http://blogs.decisionpoint.com/chart_spotlight/2013/11/2013-11-08cs.html
Decision Point ®: Health Care After Obamacare - Chart Spotlighthttp://blogs.decisionpoint.com/chart_spotlight/2013/11/2013-11-08cs.htmlOne might think that all the turmoil surrounding Obamacare would be having a negative effect the Health Care Sector, but in so thinking, one would be wrong. -------------------------- (This is an excerpt from recent blogs for Decision Point subscribe...

Randy Dotinga
Randy Dotinga memberauthor

If you're healthy, the very nature of insurance requires you to pay for others' health care.

Also, if people go without insurance, you pay for that too through higher rates (such as paying for the ER visits by people who wait until they are extremely ill to seek care). And, of course, through threats to the public health thanks to those who are uninsured.

As for your situation: You're not eligible for a subsidy due to your income? How much more is covered under a new 2014 plan versus your current plan? (There are essential benefits that must be covered and now a ban on annual and lifetime limits on coverage, like the ones that kept me limited to $75K in coverage a year in return for $700+ a month for coverage for an individual.)

Susan Swift
Susan Swift

Thank you Mr. Robertson for the excellent analysis.

I too was cancelled by Healthnet recently and I'm looking at around $12k next year to cover my family of three with $10k family deductible. I was paying around $8k, which had risen by over 50% in the percent in the last five years. We seldom/never use our plan . The fact of the matter is: We are working very hard to pay for others health care and I'm sick of this Socialized system and it's outrageous costs that the Government has created! People who think Government actually solves problems are very misinformed.

With $12k representing nearly 20% of our income, I am thinking about dropping my coverage for the first time in my life. I was thinking exactly along the lines you pointed out, before i read your opinion. Now I'm even more confident that this is the way to go. And yes, I'm math literate.

Megan Burks
Megan Burks author

Michael is right that the maximum out-of-pocket is $12,700. However, the deductible counts toward that maximum out-of-pocket expenses.

Jim Abbott
Jim Abbott

I come late to this discussion and am proud to see so many VOSD readers challenge a billionaire entrepreneur whining about subsidized healthcare. Perhaps Mr. Robertson could take some of his fortune and open a charitable hospital that performs heart/soul transplants on libertarians who obviously are in such desperate need.

Jim Abbott
Jim Abbott subscribermember

I come late to this discussion and am proud to see so many VOSD readers challenge a billionaire entrepreneur whining about subsidized healthcare. Perhaps Mr. Robertson could take some of his fortune and open a charitable hospital that performs heart/soul transplants on libertarians who obviously are in such desperate need.

Lucas OConnor
Lucas OConnor

I'm pretty sure it's always going to be cheaper to gamble on not needing health insurance, that's not exactly a revelation. It's kinda nice being able to make that choice though I'd imagine, a choice that millions of Americans haven't had before.

Lucas OConnor
Lucas OConnor subscriber

I'm pretty sure it's always going to be cheaper to gamble on not needing health insurance, that's not exactly a revelation. It's kinda nice being able to make that choice though I'd imagine, a choice that millions of Americans haven't had before.

Chris Brewster
Chris Brewster

Mr. Robertson: Regarding the option to pay a fine, you state in your opinion piece, “If I choose not to purchase government-mandated health care, the IRS will fine me $285 or 1 percent of my income in 2014, whichever is higher.” You later state that if you don’t get insurance, “I’ll incur a fine of $285, but the $10,523 I’ll save on insurance will cover that and $10,000 in medical costs.” The only people who would be fined $285 are those making $28,500 or less, correct? Is your income really in that range? Can you elucidate?

Chris Brewster
Chris Brewster subscribermember

Mr. Robertson: Regarding the option to pay a fine, you state in your opinion piece, “If I choose not to purchase government-mandated health care, the IRS will fine me $285 or 1 percent of my income in 2014, whichever is higher.” You later state that if you don’t get insurance, “I’ll incur a fine of $285, but the $10,523 I’ll save on insurance will cover that and $10,000 in medical costs.” The only people who would be fined $285 are those making $28,500 or less, correct? Is your income really in that range? Can you elucidate?

Randy Dotinga
Randy Dotinga

For a 4-person household (two kids, two adults) who live in Rancho Santa Fe and make $100,000 a year, Covered CA says monthly premiums start at $757 a month. There are 34 options. One silver plan from HealthNet is $883 a month, or $10,596. I told the system that the family is healthy and doesn't use much in the way of doctor visits and medical expenses. It estimates the typical annual cost, including premium and out-of-pocket expenses, would be $11,696. The out-of-pocket max is $12,700. I'm not sure if that includes the deductible.

Randy Dotinga
Randy Dotinga memberauthor

For a 4-person household (two kids, two adults) who live in Rancho Santa Fe and make $100,000 a year, Covered CA says monthly premiums start at $757 a month. There are 34 options. One silver plan from HealthNet is $883 a month, or $10,596. I told the system that the family is healthy and doesn't use much in the way of doctor visits and medical expenses. It estimates the typical annual cost, including premium and out-of-pocket expenses, would be $11,696. The out-of-pocket max is $12,700. I'm not sure if that includes the deductible.

Randy Dotinga
Randy Dotinga

Oh hey, Michael: how did you manage to get such good coverage for your family for $569 a month? That's remarkable. I paid significantly more than that for crappy coverage for just myself. And what were the range of options for you among the various metal levels? For 2014, I have 34 options from six companies, and there's a wide range of prices in each "metal level." You mention a single premium from a single level. How'd you choose that price? Was it the only one available for your geographic location for your family size?

Randy Dotinga
Randy Dotinga memberauthor

Oh hey, Michael: how did you manage to get such good coverage for your family for $569 a month? That's remarkable. I paid significantly more than that for crappy coverage for just myself. And what were the range of options for you among the various metal levels? For 2014, I have 34 options from six companies, and there's a wide range of prices in each "metal level." You mention a single premium from a single level. How'd you choose that price? Was it the only one available for your geographic location for your family size?

gemini2
gemini2

hey ----------how about our canadian friends ? over 50 years with a national health plan---average monthly cost per family =$ 88----------not being screwed by private insurers,lobbying the feds to protect their immense profits . wake up america-------you are fighting an up hill battle againest corporate greed !

Arizona Bread
Arizona Bread

It’s difficult to figure what Mr. Robertson is saying. On the one hand, it’s clear Obamacare doesn't pass his math test. On the other, it’s clear he’s willing to use Obamacare when the time comes that he needs it. So he’s against paying “taxes,” as he calls them, which subsidize the cost of health care for people who are ill; until he becomes ill, at which point he’s fine with your “taxes” subsidizing him. This is the problem with libertarian ideologues (not libertarian theory). They carp about the punitiveness of every tax they pay, or avoid paying, but are happy to take their share of what those taxes provide when it’s beneficial for them. (Mr. Robertson’s Wikipedia page reports he is a libertarian. It’s apparently important to him we know.) Maybe guys like him should form a club called the hypocritarians? In Mr. Robertson’s case membership issues from two more Wikipedia facts. (Thanks Randy Dotinga for posting the link.) He took an education at UCSD with its attendant lower tuition subsidized by the taxpayer. And then leveraged a government created taxpayer funded technology platform called the internet into a music related business which made him a billionaire. That’s billionaire, or at least that’s what’s required to make the Forbes 400 list, which Wikipedia reports Mr. Robertson did twice. Maybe he thinks UCSD and the internet were created just for him? Finally, before Mr. Robertson accuses me of using his background as an ad hominem attack, readers should know ad hominem attacks are “arguments that attempt to undermine another argument based on an irrelevant fact about the person making the argument” (Wikipedia). The facts I include are relevant because they bear on Robertson’s persuasiveness. They reveal motive and influence his credibility with readers. For instance, some will have little sympathy for a billionaire complaining about having to pay an additional $3700 in health insurance for his family. Others will find his folksy middle-class family health care story grossly misleading now that they know his wealth. Speaking of his wealth, and the power and influence it buys, Mr. Robertson can do better than what he wrote. He needs to make the case to those who favor Obamacare that libertarianism, a “political position that advocates a radical redistribution of power from the coercive state to voluntary associations of free individuals" (Wikipedia), is a practical idea. Good luck with that.

Arizona Bread
Arizona Bread subscriber

It’s difficult to figure what Mr. Robertson is saying. On the one hand, it’s clear Obamacare doesn't pass his math test. On the other, it’s clear he’s willing to use Obamacare when the time comes that he needs it. So he’s against paying “taxes,” as he calls them, which subsidize the cost of health care for people who are ill; until he becomes ill, at which point he’s fine with your “taxes” subsidizing him. This is the problem with libertarian ideologues (not libertarian theory). They carp about the punitiveness of every tax they pay, or avoid paying, but are happy to take their share of what those taxes provide when it’s beneficial for them. (Mr. Robertson’s Wikipedia page reports he is a libertarian. It’s apparently important to him we know.) Maybe guys like him should form a club called the hypocritarians? In Mr. Robertson’s case membership issues from two more Wikipedia facts. (Thanks Randy Dotinga for posting the link.) He took an education at UCSD with its attendant lower tuition subsidized by the taxpayer. And then leveraged a government created taxpayer funded technology platform called the internet into a music related business which made him a billionaire. That’s billionaire, or at least that’s what’s required to make the Forbes 400 list, which Wikipedia reports Mr. Robertson did twice. Maybe he thinks UCSD and the internet were created just for him? Finally, before Mr. Robertson accuses me of using his background as an ad hominem attack, readers should know ad hominem attacks are “arguments that attempt to undermine another argument based on an irrelevant fact about the person making the argument” (Wikipedia). The facts I include are relevant because they bear on Robertson’s persuasiveness. They reveal motive and influence his credibility with readers. For instance, some will have little sympathy for a billionaire complaining about having to pay an additional $3700 in health insurance for his family. Others will find his folksy middle-class family health care story grossly misleading now that they know his wealth. Speaking of his wealth, and the power and influence it buys, Mr. Robertson can do better than what he wrote. He needs to make the case to those who favor Obamacare that libertarianism, a “political position that advocates a radical redistribution of power from the coercive state to voluntary associations of free individuals" (Wikipedia), is a practical idea. Good luck with that.

Randy Dotinga
Randy Dotinga

MIchael: I might have missed this. What are your options outside of the official state marketplace? You can still get coverage on the individual market without going through Covered California at all, correct? Were those options better deals? And how does the coverage under Covered CA (considering the new rules of the Affordable Care Act) compare to what you head before? As you know, there are new rules about what plans must cover. Comparing a 2013 policy premium to one in 2014 may be complicated.

bart simpson
bart simpson

When you're paying for life insurance, you're paying for others' death benefits. When you're paying for car insurance, you're paying for others' repairs and medical costs. And yes, when you're paying for health insurance, you're paying for sick people. You may be math literate, but are you insurance literate? Do you understand how insurance works? Do you think they just put your premiums in a separate account that they save up to pay only the expenses that you incur?

Oh, and that childless couple living next to you is paying property taxes to send your kids to school. How sick are you about that socialized system? Go give them a refund.

bart simpson
bart simpson

When you're paying for life insurance, you're paying for others' death benefits. When you're paying for car insurance, you're paying for others' repairs and medical costs. And yes, when you're paying for health insurance, you're paying for sick people. You may be math literate, but are you insurance literate? Do you understand how insurance works? Do you think they just put your premiums in a separate account that they save up to pay only the expenses that you incur?

Oh, and that childless couple living next to you is paying property taxes to send your kids to school. How sick are you about that socialized system? Go give them a refund.

Randy Dotinga
Randy Dotinga

If you're healthy, the very nature of insurance requires you to pay for others' health care.

Also, if people go without insurance, you pay for that too through higher rates (such as paying for the ER visits by people who wait until they are extremely ill to seek care). And, of course, through threats to the public health thanks to those who are uninsured.

As for your situation: You're not eligible for a subsidy due to your income? How much more is covered under a new 2014 plan versus your current plan? (There are essential benefits that must be covered and now a ban on annual and lifetime limits on coverage, like the ones that kept me limited to $75K in coverage a year in return for $700+ a month for coverage for an individual.)

Michael Robertson
Michael Robertson

Whether I'm a billionaire or entrepreneur is irrelevant to the analysis of Obamacare just like your income is not relevant to your argument. I have many objections to Obamacare, but the undeniable one is that there is no "affordable" in the affordable healthcare act. Like all products the government layers with regulation - people get fewer choices and higher costs. I shared my story as one anecdote where I included actual prices not speculation. More meaningful are the broader studies now emerging which show that Obamacare raises costs in 45 states. http://freebeacon.com/obamacare-raising-premiums-hurting-middle-lower-class/ The few states where costs are declining already have enormous govt regulation and Obamacare would lessen that. To lower healthcare costs the US should: - Increase competition. Let out of state companies sell to CAs. How expensive would cars be if we could only buy from a CA corp? That's what we have with insurance and it makes no sense. - Broaden who can deliver medical care. The AMA fights like hell to prevent anyone but doctors they approve to deliver healthcare. We have people that serve wounded soldiers on the battlefield but aren't able to provide services in the US to citizens. - Rethink end of life approach where we keep people alive because we have advanced medical care only to live an extra 9 months in a hospital bed and devouring 40% of all medical spending. If people want to move on, they should be allowed to do so in a humane, painless and dignified manner.Obamacare Raising Premiums, Hurting Middle, Lower Classhttp://freebeacon.com/obamacare-raising-premiums-hurting-middle-lower-class/Andrew Herndon knew it was coming. Herndon, a Charlotte, N.C. resident who has a health and life insurance license but works in sales, fully expected that his health insurance premiums would rise after the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (A...

Jim Jones
Jim Jones

There are none more heartless and soulless than those who codify a dependent underclass. It's sickening what these liberals with there fake compassion have done to hold down and enslave generations.

Julie Wright
Julie Wright

Michael is not complaining about whether his healthcare insurance is subsidized or not, he is complaining that it is not what was promised under ObamaCare -- a much higher premium for a much higher deductible and less coverage. And because he can get heathcare when he needs it, from a completely objective perspective, he is making a good decision -- and exposing the fundamental flaws of this system even before we get to the $500 million software program that does not work.

Michael Robertson
Michael Robertson subscribermember

Whether I'm a billionaire or entrepreneur is irrelevant to the analysis of Obamacare just like your income is not relevant to your argument. I have many objections to Obamacare, but the undeniable one is that there is no "affordable" in the affordable healthcare act. Like all products the government layers with regulation - people get fewer choices and higher costs. I shared my story as one anecdote where I included actual prices not speculation. More meaningful are the broader studies now emerging which show that Obamacare raises costs in 45 states. http://freebeacon.com/obamacare-raising-premiums-hurting-middle-lower-class/ The few states where costs are declining already have enormous govt regulation and Obamacare would lessen that. To lower healthcare costs the US should: - Increase competition. Let out of state companies sell to CAs. How expensive would cars be if we could only buy from a CA corp? That's what we have with insurance and it makes no sense. - Broaden who can deliver medical care. The AMA fights like hell to prevent anyone but doctors they approve to deliver healthcare. We have people that serve wounded soldiers on the battlefield but aren't able to provide services in the US to citizens. - Rethink end of life approach where we keep people alive because we have advanced medical care only to live an extra 9 months in a hospital bed and devouring 40% of all medical spending. If people want to move on, they should be allowed to do so in a humane, painless and dignified manner.Obamacare Raising Premiums, Hurting Middle, Lower Classhttp://freebeacon.com/obamacare-raising-premiums-hurting-middle-lower-class/Andrew Herndon knew it was coming. Herndon, a Charlotte, N.C. resident who has a health and life insurance license but works in sales, fully expected that his health insurance premiums would rise after the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (A...

Jim Jones
Jim Jones subscriber

There are none more heartless and soulless than those who codify a dependent underclass. It's sickening what these liberals with there fake compassion have done to hold down and enslave generations.

Julie Wright
Julie Wright subscribermember

Michael is not complaining about whether his healthcare insurance is subsidized or not, he is complaining that it is not what was promised under ObamaCare -- a much higher premium for a much higher deductible and less coverage. And because he can get heathcare when he needs it, from a completely objective perspective, he is making a good decision -- and exposing the fundamental flaws of this system even before we get to the $500 million software program that does not work.

Megan Burks
Megan Burks

The maximum out-of-pocket on Covered California plans includes the deductible.

Chris Brewster
Chris Brewster

Mr. Dotinga: One other thing I can’t figure out. Mr. Robertson refers to a $4,000 deductible. When I use the same variables as you, I come up with a deductible of $2,000. (using 45 yr old, 40 yr old, and two kids under 18). As well, for about an extra $1,300, there is no deductible. Something isn’t adding up and what frustrates me, along with others here, is that Mr. Robertson has not provided the variables he input into the system. I assume some he does not want to divulge some for privacy reasons, but it makes it impossible to evaluate that accuracy of his assertions, along with the logic of his conclusions. I would also note that Mr. Robertson has not advised us of what his maximum out of pocket was on his prior plan, versus the Gold or Silver, which are $12,700. I am starting to think that those of us who are trying to evaluate this critically are chasing our tails due to lack of disclosure.

Megan Burks
Megan Burks author

The maximum out-of-pocket on Covered California plans includes the deductible.

Chris Brewster
Chris Brewster subscribermember

Mr. Dotinga: One other thing I can’t figure out. Mr. Robertson refers to a $4,000 deductible. When I use the same variables as you, I come up with a deductible of $2,000. (using 45 yr old, 40 yr old, and two kids under 18). As well, for about an extra $1,300, there is no deductible. Something isn’t adding up and what frustrates me, along with others here, is that Mr. Robertson has not provided the variables he input into the system. I assume some he does not want to divulge some for privacy reasons, but it makes it impossible to evaluate that accuracy of his assertions, along with the logic of his conclusions. I would also note that Mr. Robertson has not advised us of what his maximum out of pocket was on his prior plan, versus the Gold or Silver, which are $12,700. I am starting to think that those of us who are trying to evaluate this critically are chasing our tails due to lack of disclosure.

Derek Hofmann
Derek Hofmann

Mr. Robertson is hypocritical for opposing taxes but paying them anyway?

Derek Hofmann
Derek Hofmann subscribermember

Mr. Robertson is hypocritical for opposing taxes but paying them anyway?

Megan Burks
Megan Burks

I just want to make sure people don't get confused by this comment. You can still buy health insurance on the private market. Granted, they will be "specific insurance plans politicians have approved" in that they do have to offer a minimum level of care, set a maximum on out-of-pocket expenses, etc., dictated the Affordable Care Act. They'll probably look a lot like the Covered California plans. But Covered California isn't the only place to get coverage. There are also grandfathered plans that don't have to comply with the new mandates. Folks can stay in these plans if they like them. The plans, however, won't take new enrollees and will likely be pulled by the insurance company as the risk pool for them shrinks over time.

Michael Robertson
Michael Robertson

Chris Brewster - The only govt approved plans are the ones I listed. Insurance companies are not selling other plans because they will not satisfy the legal mandate. Here's what I think you're missing. The govt is forcing people to buy insurance - not just any insurance but the SPECIFIC insurance plans politicians have approved. Even if insurance cos were to sell non-govt approved plans they would not qualify the mandate which means buyers will have to pay a penalty on top of the insurance they purchase or buy 2 insurance policies. It's crazy, but that's the lawy.

Randy Dotinga
Randy Dotinga

Insurance covers some regularly predicted expenses (like regular physicals or a colonoscopy, say) because they're preventive and can catch diseases before they become much more expensive. Under your system, what happens if I need chemo for $100,000? Or, like a friend of mine, I get in an accident, bust my skull in and need $1 million worth of care?

Michael Robertson
Michael Robertson

Insurance should be for unforeseen issues not regularly predicted expenses. Imagine what car insurance would cost if it covered wiper fluid, brake maintenance, oil changes, batteries, etc - that's the crazy way it is with healthcare. You would have the money for unforeseen healthcare expenses if you only had to pay for true catastrophic care - but that's no longer an option because guys in DC decide what is best now. It is illegal to purchase insurance outside of CA - thank you government regulation. Can you imagine if that was the rule for other products or services? What do you think would happen to the cost of goods if it was? They'd go zooming up! You asked me what I would recommend instead of Obamacare - I'd recommend a free market. One where businesses from anywhere in the world are able to sell products to me. One where people are able to offer medical services to me and I decide if they are qualified and are offering what I want. The government blocks all out of state or international insurance competition. The AMA blocks anyone but their doctors from administering any medicine. These anti-competitive regulations drive up prices by limiting supply.

Randy Dotinga
Randy Dotinga

I don't believe insurance is purely for catastrophes. Most people would have a hard time rustling up $10,000 or $15,000 before a catastrophic policy would kick in, for example. As for your acupuncture crack: "Essential health benefits" in areas like acupuncture are up to the state. It's not an Obamacare mandate. And there is plenty of research supporting acupuncture: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/acupuncture.html I'm actually referring to other new rules, like those disallowing yearly and lifetime limits. Until not too long ago, I paid $700+ a month for state high-risk coverage that would pay up to $75,000 a year and $750,000 a lifetime. You, of all people, should be able to realize what a terrible deal that is. But it was better than facing my own bankruptcy (and potentially that of my parents) if I went without coverage and became expensively sick. My alternatives: Stop being self-employed, marry or domestic-partner myself into someone's workplace plan, or become poor enough to get Medicaid. In many states, I wouldn't even have had a high-risk plan to join. Obamacare allows me to get good coverage at a reasonable rate. What insurance system do you prefer that would do the same for me? (Keep in mind that state high-risk plans have been a mess. That approach, touted by some Obamacare critics, simply doesn't work.)

Michael Robertson
Michael Robertson

Good question. Healthnet communication to me says the only options is to buy the Gold/Silver/Bronze/Catastrophic plans through them or the exchange. (Only those under 30 can buy catastrophic which is a shame because that's really what insurance is ideal for.) You are correct that there are new rules about what policies must cover. For example everyone MUST pay for acupuncture voodoo even though there's been many studies showing that is hocus pocus.

Jim Jones
Jim Jones

You need to check your own source, because it shows just the opposite of what you are claiming. You are looking at raw income, which is higher in cities but so are expenses.. Download the whole dataset, sort by "Odds of Reaching Top Fifth", and tell me the results Derek, then admit your own reference shows you wrong. For instance San Diego is in 293rd place, there are 14 Texas towns ahead of the first California one, the more liberal Texas towns are at the bottom of the list if you filter for texas, the conservative midwest is overwhelming the best place for upward mobility, etc... Of course to be fair, higher rates of upward mobility doesn't mean there isn't a huge remaining body of people being paid to stay in poverty by progressives who find them a useful voting block for their union masters. Even if San Diego was number one, it wouldn't change the fact that the subsidies, medical, EBT and other welfare that you only get below a certain income acts to maintain a large body of humanity below that income level by disincentiveizing them from going above that income level, coupled with truly atrocious public schools that leave them badly educated, police that enact thuggery in these neighborhoods and regulations that dampen small business ventures. Everyone knows what the real effect of the "war on poverty" is, it's to manufacture a low information voter under the thin and dastardly and quite ironic disguise of compassion for your fellow man.

Chris Brewster
Chris Brewster

I would argue that he may well be getting more coverage, not less. He hasn't provided the full details. I think his main concern, as a libertarian, is that he doesn't want government forcing him to do something he doesn't want to do in an effort to better protect society as a whole. I think he would like to leave us believing that he is also getting a bad deal. But he won't provide the details and some of his information appears to be directly contradictory (e.g. my post below noting his differing assertions on what his fine would be).

Jim Jones
Jim Jones subscriber

You need to check your own source, because it shows just the opposite of what you are claiming. You are looking at raw income, which is higher in cities but so are expenses.. Download the whole dataset, sort by "Odds of Reaching Top Fifth", and tell me the results Derek, then admit your own reference shows you wrong. For instance San Diego is in 293rd place, there are 14 Texas towns ahead of the first California one, the more liberal Texas towns are at the bottom of the list if you filter for texas, the conservative midwest is overwhelming the best place for upward mobility, etc... Of course to be fair, higher rates of upward mobility doesn't mean there isn't a huge remaining body of people being paid to stay in poverty by progressives who find them a useful voting block for their union masters. Even if San Diego was number one, it wouldn't change the fact that the subsidies, medical, EBT and other welfare that you only get below a certain income acts to maintain a large body of humanity below that income level by disincentiveizing them from going above that income level, coupled with truly atrocious public schools that leave them badly educated, police that enact thuggery in these neighborhoods and regulations that dampen small business ventures. Everyone knows what the real effect of the "war on poverty" is, it's to manufacture a low information voter under the thin and dastardly and quite ironic disguise of compassion for your fellow man.

Chris Brewster
Chris Brewster subscribermember

I would argue that he may well be getting more coverage, not less. He hasn't provided the full details. I think his main concern, as a libertarian, is that he doesn't want government forcing him to do something he doesn't want to do in an effort to better protect society as a whole. I think he would like to leave us believing that he is also getting a bad deal. But he won't provide the details and some of his information appears to be directly contradictory (e.g. my post below noting his differing assertions on what his fine would be).

Michael Robertson
Michael Robertson

The family deductible is $4000. I think you're looking at the individual deductible which is $2000.

Michael Robertson
Michael Robertson subscribermember

The family deductible is $4000. I think you're looking at the individual deductible which is $2000.

Chris Brewster
Chris Brewster

Mr. Robertson: I believe the plans are required to have certain features. I believe they can vary in regards to optional features and have options above the norm. One of the key features is a maximum annual out of pocket expense, which may be one of the most valuable among them.

Michael Robertson
Michael Robertson

Actually increasing studies are showing that prevention is counter productive. Research shows that annual mammograms and prostate exams uncover false positives and they are no longer recommending them. There are no solutions - only trade-offs. Say that twice cause it's true. As for acupuncture, I don't dismiss it because it's not invented in America. I dismiss it because it's quackery from start to finish. "Increasing blood flow" is nonsense. I could hit my thumb with a hammer and that increases blood flow. There's zero double blind studies that show acupuncture is more effective than a placebo.

Chris Brewster
Chris Brewster

Mr. Robertson: You dodged the question (as you have in other instances here). He didn't ask what you recommended instead of the ACA. He asked, "What are your options outside of the official state marketplace? You can still get coverage on the individual market without going through Covered California at all, correct? Were those options better deals?"

Randy Dotinga
Randy Dotinga

No, I'm not incorrect on acupuncture. You assume that it's wacko because of its spiritual basis and because it's been around for a while and isn't American. Let's check with the Mayo Clinic, not known as being a bunch of quacks: "many Western practitioners view the acupuncture points as places to stimulate nerves, muscles and connective tissue. This stimulation appears to boost the activity of your body's natural painkillers and increase blood flow."

Michael Robertson
Michael Robertson

And you're incorrect on acupuncture. Here's a clue. Anytime they say "it's been used for 1000s of years in china!" (or sweden/india/some far away place) that's a giveaway that it's bunk. That's in fact what the NIH states. Acupuncture is based on a concept that there's acupoints, chi, meridians or some other super secret spot where if you jab a needle something magic happens. Science says there's no such spots and no special effect when jabbing a body with needles. There are no double-blind studies that show acupuncture is any better than a placebo.