As an uninsured individual, I’ve been following the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) pretty closely since its inception. Even though I’m probably more knowledgeable of the law than most people, it became evident during the enrollment process that I still had much to learn. Without doubt, the ACA is complicated and it will take time for the public to become familiar with it. But when they do, I think most people will be as pleasantly surprised with it as I am now.
First off, I had assumed that I wouldn’t be eligible for the ACA’s Medicaid expansion provision due to my financial assets (I’m close to retirement age living off savings and investment earnings). So, I was anticipating purchasing a low cost private insurance plan through the new health care exchanges. However, that assumption proved incorrect. The ACA removed the existing asset limitation, and Medicaid eligibility is now based on the following requirements:
- Age must be 19-65.
- Income must be below 138% of the federal poverty level ($1322/month or $15864/year).
- Must not be entitled to Medicare.
- Must not be incarcerated.
- Must meet citizenship requirements.
- Must be a resident of the state you’re applying in.
I had this experience with the online application process:
Day 1 – I couldn’t access the website because the shear volume of users had crashed their servers.
Day 2 – I filled out the reasonably-sized questionnaire in short order, but couldn’t submit the application due to a software glitch.
Day 3 – I submitted the application, and it was approved later that same day.
The Medicaid expansion plan I’m enrolled in is called Washington Apple Health – No Cost Adult Coverage. There are no monthly premiums associated with this plan, although I’m not sure yet about co-pays and other potential costs. Also, I won’t know the exact spectrum of benefits until I receive the official documentation in the mail.
In any event, this is a huge load off my shoulders. No longer will I have to worry about an illness or injury wiping out my financial resources. In 2009, I supported Congressman Alan Grayson’s (D-FL) Medicare Buy-In plan and the widely debated Public Option. Both of those legislative options failed to pass Congress, but the now enacted ACA still appears to be a very beneficial law for millions of Americans. And, I’m one of them.