As a point of principle, I didn't want to change my existing health insurance policy - but the Obamacare demons didn't give me much of a choice. Not only was the price raised another $4000 for next year (raising my premiums to around $21k), but to "provide affordable services for everyone" per ACA requirements, my insurer declared that my policy would no longer cover my rectal regions owing to some benign polyps found a decade ago.
In other words, if I ever got ass cancer (which, incidentally, Obama spreads like Typhoid Mary) my family would be wiped out (so to speak) by the totally uncovered medical bills. So I had no choice but to get a new Obamacare policy. Gulp...
Fortunately, I have a friend who is an insurance broker who could help walk me through the process, rather than throwing myself on the tender mercies of the alleged "navigators" (and Acorn alumni) who give correct information even less frequently than the mouth-breathers manning the help lines at the IRS.
He suggested that I go through the eHealthInsurance website; no additional charge, access to Obamacare policies, and genuine tech support and advocacy if I needed it. So I filled out my application online - a very quick operation since the only questions are things like age, sex, race, citizenship (although the site emphasizes that you don't have to be a citizen to apply), whether you smoke, and if you're currently incarcerated. And of course, they ask you to take a wild guess at your income in 2015 so they can see if you'll get a magic subsidy from the government.
And that's where the (entirely legal) game playing began. According to Healthcare.gov, I have so little actual income (as opposed to assets) that my family's only option for coverage was on Medicaid. Which isn't even coverage at all; you get execrable healthcare (if you can even find it) and when you die the government forces your estate to return all of the money Medicaid spent on you. That's not insurance - it's a bad loan.
However, Obamacare also considers it "income" when I take taxable funds out of my retirement account (which I'm old enough to do). So by withdrawing a fixed amount of money, I could "create" the income of my choice to qualify for a plan better than the care given "free" to the homeless and indigents.
I then had access to a baffling range of policies, labeled Bronze, Silver, Gold, or Platinum (there is also a "Platinum with Diamonds" tier, but it's only available to federal staffers). The information about the policies was minimal, largely inaccessible, and sometimes flat out wrong - so my friend helped walk me through making a choice.
I finally settled on a Blue Cross Bronze plan with high deductibles. The cost for the policy was almost exactly the same as my current policy (at least, before Obamacare tacked on the extra $4k). But my personal cost would only be about $500 a month with American taxpayers kicking in another $11,000 on my behalf. So the "costs" didn't really come down - but someone else's wealth was redistributed to a fare-thee-well.
Having made my choice and finished the eHealthInsurance application, I put the policy in my cart, hit the "purchase" button, and the application went whisking its way to Healthcare.gov. Which sent me an error message within 30 seconds saying that they couldn't process my subsidy request, so they'd call me within an hour or two.
Four days later (sigh), I called eHealthInsurance and they said that the process pretty reliably hits a roadblock when Healthcare.gov gets involved. They assigned their "swat team" to shake things loose.
And sure enough, the very next day Healthcare.gov sent me a PDF file with the results of their in-depth, NSA cross-referenced subsidy investigation. A 14-page PDF file. Which had a lovely logo, a number of lines, some boxes, a scanning code, and no freaking text whatsoever.
In an act of desperation, I tried the "select all" command in the document - and magically lots of blue text boxes appeared on every page, albeit without any visible text. So I copied and pasted into a Word document and - voila! - the text appeared, minus anything remotely like formatting. Still, my subsidy was confirmed. I could finally become a truer American by being a burden to society like everyone else.
All that was left to do was pay my first premium in order to assure coverage by January 1, 2015. My eHealthInsurance account gave me a link to the Blue Cross website, where I confirmed a few quick factoids, chose my payment method, and clicked to send the money...
Boom! A big old error message informed me that I was not who I claimed to be and, to make matters even more surreal, that the year was 1984.
Seriously, 1984. Somewhere, George Orwell is laughing or crying.
The tech people at Blue Cross were nice enough, but couldn't resolve the problem - and seemed a bit skeptical about my problem until I sent them a screenshot of their time-traveling web page.
24 hours later, there was still no resolution - so I went back to Healthcare.gov, found a different link to Blue Cross (after about 20 failed attempts because I had a "pop-up" blocker on and Healthcare.gov seems to love pop-up windows), and followed it to a seemingly identical Blue Cross page which miraculously let me pay my $500.
All in all, the process was light-years from being "as easy as buying a TV on Amazon" per one of Barack Obama's myriad lies. But apart from being a royal pain in the rear (for which I will now be covered!) the entire process was disturbing on a lot of levels.
Do I really have insurance now, or are the errors just out of my sight (and control) now? How much other damage is being done by this bureaucracy and bungled computer programming? And if I'm ever in a strange emergency room, will I bleed out while doctors try to make sense of a blank PDF ostensibly containing my critical government medical records?
To be fair, Obamacare allowed me to spend less of my own money on health insurance and gives me better butt coverage - but only because Obamacare also made my previous, private health insurance unaffordably expensive and took away that coverage. The game is rigged, and its only goals are wealth-redistribution and consolidation of Big Government power over individuals.
But as bad as I feel about being forced into a subsidy, I can balm my conscience somewhat with the knowledge of how much I've previously poured into the government coffers over decades of self-employment - and the growing likelihood that in June of next year, the Supreme Court will declare all such subsidies by federally-run exchanges to be against the law.
At which point I fully expect to receive a bill from the government for $11,000...with interest penalties dating back to 1984.