On the outside America seems to be operating as usual. Even the data doesn't paint a sufficiently grim picture on the state of the economy. 68% of Americans believe the country is on the wrong track. But it's going to get much worse next year when Obamacare kicks in, wreaking economic havoc for families and small businesses. One mom, Kate Joy, told her story to The Foundry:
“There must have been 20 or 30 plans to choose from,” she said, explaining that they ultimately chose a plan with a high deductible and low monthly payments because they are all very healthy and wanted to maintain lower monthly payments.
“We are very healthy, had savings for any emergencies, wanted to lower monthly premiums, so we thought no problem,” Joy said. “Everybody gets one checkup a year, I got all my female checkups, plus two additional doctor visits a year.”
Their deductible was $17,000 per year for their family of four with a $389 monthly premium. In 2011, California required all plans to pay for birth control and the family’s premiums increased to $499 a month.
A Canceled Plan
In late September, the family received a notice from Anthem announcing their plan would be dropped January 1 because it does not meet the requirements of the Affordable Care Act. If they wanted to stay with Anthem insurance, enrolled in an equivalent plan that was compliant with Obamacare, their new premium would be $1,252 a month.
“That means about $14,000 a year that would be paid into an insurance company when all we use health care wise is about two checkups a year each,” Joy said. The 150 percent premium increase amounts to one-fifth of her husband’s retirement salary, and she said that they don’t want to devote that much money to health care.
“At this point we really don’t know what we are going to do,” Kate said, fearing the effects a $15,000-plus health care bill would have on her family’s annual budget.
They’re so concerned about the increased costs that she and her husband have already started brainstorming on what they’ll have to cut back on if they choose to enroll in either plan. Here are all the cuts they’ve come up with so far:
- Stop paying the extra payment on my mortgage: $100/month
- Stop eating out: $150/month
- Don’t go to the movies: $36/month
- Switch to getting a haircut every other month: $15/month
- Stop getting manicures: $40/month
- Stop monthly charitable donations to Wounded Warrior and Habitat for Humanity: $70/month
- Stop saving for an annual anniversary getaway: $60/month
- No Christmas gifts to extended family: $40/month
- Quit buying beef at the grocery store: $100/month
- Teeth cleaning only once per year: $30/month
- Cancel all magazine/newspaper subscriptions: at least $30/month
- Cut DISH service to cheaper plan: $50/month
- Cancel land line phone service: $70/month
If Joy makes these cuts, she will save $791 a month, enough to make up the increase in her family’s monthly premiums. She said she realizes that other families aren’t in a position to cut so much from their budgets, and said, “I fear for what’s coming.”