My Family’s ObamaCare Ordeal

I recently wrote an article explaining that my family which includes me, my wife, and two small children, saw our health insurance canceled due to the new health care law known as “ObamaCare.” We had an “individual” health savings account (HSA) which covered the four of us and cost $344 a month. That plan was supplemented by a savings account funded by my employer with pre-tax contributions.

I have had an individual HSA through Blue Cross since I began with the Rio Grande Foundation in early 2006.

We were very happy with our plan. It wasn’t perfect, but it covered our family at a reasonable cost and it gave us strong incentives to control costs and prioritize our health care spending. Of course, things happen and we did use the plan. Earlier this year, for example, we had two emergency room visits within a short time period to take care of a gall bladder issue. Thankfully, because our plan had a savings account component, we had pre-tax savings in place to take care of these bills.

Unfortunately, like thousands of other New Mexicans, in early October, we got the news that our health insurance policy was being cancelled at years-end.

The cancellation of our policy meant that starting on November 15 we had to start the search for a new plan. We had heard the nightmares about the glitches with and, thankfully, didn’t experience any of those. That website and the others relating to our search for a new health insurance policy worked well.

The bad news is that when we finally did find health insurance policies that made sense for our family, the prices were far higher than our current plan. The “bare-bones” plans started just north of $500 (an increase of about 50 percent).

Ultimately, we settled on a Presbyterian HMO “Silver” plan costing $722 per month. The plan is better than our current plan in some ways and worse in others. Of course, with a price that is more than double that of our current plan, this represents a significant additional financial burden on me and my family.

The Rio Grande Foundation opposed “ObamaCare” and further federal involvement in America’s health care system for principled philosophical reasons. It was impossible to know at the time just how personally costly this law would end up being.

Unfortunately, our experience is undoubtedly not unique in New Mexico or across the nation.

Paul Gessing is the President of New Mexico’s Rio Grande Foundation. The Rio Grande Foundation is an independent, non-partisan, tax-exempt research and educational organization dedicated to promoting prosperity for New Mexico based on principles of limited government, economic freedom and individual responsibility