Obamacare cost me my health insurance

I have no health insurance today, due entirely to Obamacare.

Being self-employed I have had an individual health insurance policy through the same major, health insurance company for approximately twenty years. Facing significant rate increases -- which the company said was due to the (Orwellian-named) Affordable Care Act -- I signed up for coverage, with that same company, last spring through the federal marketplace.

I used the marketplace for three reasons: It offered a multi-state plan -- sold only through the marketplace and not directly by the company -- which provided a deductible which wasn't as ridiculously high as other plans. (Bolstering arguments that simple changes, like offering insurance across state lines, would provide better improvements to the health care system than a giant government power grab.) I was also able to get a small subsidy to help offset the near-doubling of my insurance policy premium, and 67% increase in my deductible, between the time Obamacare was approved and now. Largely, though, I was motivated by a reporter's curiosity in discovering how the system worked.

(It doesn't.)

Enrolling in Obamacare was a major nightmare.

Escaping Obamacare is even worse.

My premium, under the "your rates won't go up" Obamacare plan, was to be jacked up 23.9% as of January 1. That's it. I was out of there, reportorial curiosity or not. (I will also send the IRS a check with my tax return for the small subsidy I received during the last nine months of 2014.)

On December 12, I completed an application for essentially the same policy I had -- without the lower deductible of the multi-state plan -- and for exactly the same monthly premium, directly with the company. The plan would take effect January 1 of this year. Even though the two plans were issued by the same company, I was told that I would need to contact the marketplace to cancel the old policy. My marketplace plan was to end December 31 anyway, but I went ahead and cancelled it.

A few days later I received an email from the marketplace informing me that, because I had not re-enrolled, the marketplace had re-enrolled me in the old policy. I started to ignore it because of the sheer volume of emails I was getting from them. (Between November 25 and December 15 they sent me 14 emails, nearly one a day for a while, urging me to re-enroll, bearing such propagandistic subject lines as, "Millions are getting covered.") I went back to the marketplace and cancelled a second time.

Nevertheless, I received another email message a few days later informing me once again that, because I had not re-enrolled in the marketplace policy, the marketplace had re-enrolled me. I cancelled for a third time.

Then, early in January, I went to the insurance company's website. It showed my active plan as the old marketplace plan, not the new one I had signed up for directly with the company. I contacted the company. They said they could not implement the new policy until the marketplace notified them that the old policy was cancelled.

Obamacare, literally, wouldn't let me go.

(Would I be too much of a cynic if I suggested that this is yet another way for the Obamacare folks to falsely inflate the number of people covered? Again, this is after January 1, a key date for marketplace enrollment numbers because all marketplace policies were, theoretically, set to expire/renew on that date. It will also, presumably, be the date on which the enrollment numbers they report will be based.)

After my conversation with the insurance company, I called the marketplace and was told they did not show the old plan as active. Another series of phone calls, including a three-way conference call between the insurance company, the marketplace and me, ensued.

Finally, on January 16, I logged onto the insurance company's website and discovered that my old policy had been cancelled. But the new policy has not been implemented.

A dog -- either the insurance company's or the marketplace's -- has apparently eaten my completed application, which was supposed to take effect January 1.

For the first time since I started my business in 1989, I now have no health insurance.

And I'm certain it's not just me this is happening to. When I began dealing with the marketplace's refusal to release me, I started asking the people I dealt with, both at the marketplace and the insurance company, if they were seeing more of this. (Again, old reportorial habits die hard.) I was told at the marketplace, "Yeah, we're seeing some of this," and at the insurance company, "Uh-huh. I dealt with this just yesterday."

So it's anecdotal, but keep those comments in mind when you hear the inflated numbers about how many people are covered through Obama's "signature program."

So far, it's mainly the self-employed who are the major victims of Obamacare. We are, so to speak, the tip of the spear. And a bloodied one at that. Think of what will happen when major employers, facing the same major price hikes that we've faced, release millions of employees to deal directly with this system?

I suspect that I will, eventually, find some sort of health insurance coverage, even though it will cost significantly more and cover less, due to the higher deductible, than the policy I had before Obamacare was approved. In the meantime, I'm at risk.

As are many other Americans.

Barack Obama's lie that we'd all be able to keep our health plans and our doctors proved so blatantly false that most people don't remember the second part of that quote: "The only changes you’ll see are falling costs as our reforms take hold."

Everything about my health insurance -- and a lot of other people's -- has changed. But, since I don't have any right now, I don't have any premiums to pay. Maybe that's what Obama meant about falling costs.

William Tate is an award-winning journalist and author

I have no health insurance today, due entirely to Obamacare.

Being self-employed I have had an individual health insurance policy through the same major, health insurance company for approximately twenty years. Facing significant rate increases -- which the company said was due to the (Orwellian-named) Affordable Care Act -- I signed up for coverage, with that same company, last spring through the federal marketplace.

I used the marketplace for three reasons: It offered a multi-state plan -- sold only through the marketplace and not directly by the company -- which provided a deductible which wasn't as ridiculously high as other plans. (Bolstering arguments that simple changes, like offering insurance across state lines, would provide better improvements to the health care system than a giant government power grab.) I was also able to get a small subsidy to help offset the near-doubling of my insurance policy premium, and 67% increase in my deductible, between the time Obamacare was approved and now. Largely, though, I was motivated by a reporter's curiosity in discovering how the system worked.

(It doesn't.)

Enrolling in Obamacare was a major nightmare.

Escaping Obamacare is even worse.

My premium, under the "your rates won't go up" Obamacare plan, was to be jacked up 23.9% as of January 1. That's it. I was out of there, reportorial curiosity or not. (I will also send the IRS a check with my tax return for the small subsidy I received during the last nine months of 2014.)

On December 12, I completed an application for essentially the same policy I had -- without the lower deductible of the multi-state plan -- and for exactly the same monthly premium, directly with the company. The plan would take effect January 1 of this year. Even though the two plans were issued by the same company, I was told that I would need to contact the marketplace to cancel the old policy. My marketplace plan was to end December 31 anyway, but I went ahead and cancelled it.

A few days later I received an email from the marketplace informing me that, because I had not re-enrolled, the marketplace had re-enrolled me in the old policy. I started to ignore it because of the sheer volume of emails I was getting from them. (Between November 25 and December 15 they sent me 14 emails, nearly one a day for a while, urging me to re-enroll, bearing such propagandistic subject lines as, "Millions are getting covered.") I went back to the marketplace and cancelled a second time.

Nevertheless, I received another email message a few days later informing me once again that, because I had not re-enrolled in the marketplace policy, the marketplace had re-enrolled me. I cancelled for a third time.

Then, early in January, I went to the insurance company's website. It showed my active plan as the old marketplace plan, not the new one I had signed up for directly with the company. I contacted the company. They said they could not implement the new policy until the marketplace notified them that the old policy was cancelled.

Obamacare, literally, wouldn't let me go.

(Would I be too much of a cynic if I suggested that this is yet another way for the Obamacare folks to falsely inflate the number of people covered? Again, this is after January 1, a key date for marketplace enrollment numbers because all marketplace policies were, theoretically, set to expire/renew on that date. It will also, presumably, be the date on which the enrollment numbers they report will be based.)

After my conversation with the insurance company, I called the marketplace and was told they did not show the old plan as active. Another series of phone calls, including a three-way conference call between the insurance company, the marketplace and me, ensued.

Finally, on January 16, I logged onto the insurance company's website and discovered that my old policy had been cancelled. But the new policy has not been implemented.

A dog -- either the insurance company's or the marketplace's -- has apparently eaten my completed application, which was supposed to take effect January 1.

For the first time since I started my business in 1989, I now have no health insurance.

And I'm certain it's not just me this is happening to. When I began dealing with the marketplace's refusal to release me, I started asking the people I dealt with, both at the marketplace and the insurance company, if they were seeing more of this. (Again, old reportorial habits die hard.) I was told at the marketplace, "Yeah, we're seeing some of this," and at the insurance company, "Uh-huh. I dealt with this just yesterday."

So it's anecdotal, but keep those comments in mind when you hear the inflated numbers about how many people are covered through Obama's "signature program."

So far, it's mainly the self-employed who are the major victims of Obamacare. We are, so to speak, the tip of the spear. And a bloodied one at that. Think of what will happen when major employers, facing the same major price hikes that we've faced, release millions of employees to deal directly with this system?

I suspect that I will, eventually, find some sort of health insurance coverage, even though it will cost significantly more and cover less, due to the higher deductible, than the policy I had before Obamacare was approved. In the meantime, I'm at risk.

As are many other Americans.

Barack Obama's lie that we'd all be able to keep our health plans and our doctors proved so blatantly false that most people don't remember the second part of that quote: "The only changes you’ll see are falling costs as our reforms take hold."

Everything about my health insurance -- and a lot of other people's -- has changed. But, since I don't have any right now, I don't have any premiums to pay. Maybe that's what Obama meant about falling costs.

William Tate is an award-winning journalist and author