LETTER: The Affordable Care Act's unintended consequences

Jan. 09, 2014 @ 04:58 AM

To the Editor:

Obamacare gets into high gear this year, so let me share two stories regarding the effects of the individual mandate that you won't hear on the news channels.

I have two daughters who are both married with young children and work part time with their husbands being the breadwinners in the family. The younger one's family was covered by a private family plan through BCBS, which they were happy with. Now, however, through the exchange, the cheapest plan offered by BCBS is still more than $200 more per month than the old plan, even after a small subsidy, and the plan paled in comparison to their old plan. They decided to go without coverage. Their reasoning was that it was not worth paying a premium that doesn't cover anything until after the high deductibles. The only other carrier in North Carolina, Coventry, had optional plans, but not all of their doctors participate. 

My older daughter, who has family coverage through her husband's employer, has a different story to tell. Her old plan was a platinum plan. She received her new insurance cards last week and to her surprise and angst, her coverage now is an inferior plan. No more co-pays, no reduced-rate prescriptions. It is bare bones catastrophic insurance (at least to her) for the same cost they were paying last year for a premium plan. In fact, she called me today to tell me that a prescription she has for psoriasis that last year cost her $50 (Tier 4) now costs her $750! Sadly, their stories are not unique.

An unintended consequence of the Affordable Care Act is the pain and anger it brings to me, knowing that my children and grandchildren will not enjoy even close to the same benefits I enjoyed in my lifetime. There's a part of me that wants to live long enough to see my grandchildren grow up and hopefully enjoy life. But as I enter my seventh decade on this earth and witness the direction our country is taking, I think maybe I don't want to stick around to see what happens.

George Orlovsky