It's Day 9 of the Federal Government shutdown and many citizens who are able to sign up for healthcare under the Affordable Care Act are shocked how to see how expensive the plans are for working middle class families.
Workers who were dropped by their employer's health insurance are being told to sign-up for Obamacare. However, they are discovering that it is certainly not that easy. Workers are finding a buggy and complicated system where their premiums are outrageous and that they are too wealthy for the tax deductions promised under ACA. Let's look at Trader Joe's.
According to Huffington Post, grocer Trader Joe's, which has long-lauded the fact that it provided health benefits to part-time workers, has now dropped that coverage, telling employees to sign up for insurance using the ACA exchanges.
The Huffington Post reports: "In the memo to staff dated Aug. 30, Trader Joe's CEO Dan Bane said the company will cut part-timers a check for $500 in January and help guide them toward finding a new plan under the Affordable Care Act. The company will continue to offer health coverage to workers who carry 30 hours or more on average."
This memo continues, "Depending on income you may earn outside of Trader Joe's" — i.e., another job – "we believe that with the $500 from Trader Joe's and the tax credits available under the ACA, many of you should be able to obtain health care coverage at very little if any net cost to you."
Hard working Americans are discovering that signing up for ACA is not like Geico where it's "so easy a caveman could do it."
Since the start of the sign-up period, bewildered Trader Joe's employees have taken to social media to voice their frustration.
One family paid $180 per month under the Trader Joe's plan for part-time workers, which covered him and his wife, who worked at the retailer.
As directed, they searched on the exchanges, and to their surprise, they found worse coverage for more money. He writes, "MNSure [the State of Minnesota health insurance exchange] was able to find us 1 plan (had to change the date to 2014 just to get that!). One plan! The rate? $555.81 with a $6,000 deductible; more than 3X what we were paying for a worse plan! And no, we are not eligible for any tax deductions, and no we are not rich. In fact, we have budgeted nearly every dollar we make to pay off debt before this happened!"
Justin Hawley told Joshua Cook, "a lot of people thought that Obamacare would take from the rich and give to the poor. In reality, 177it's taking money from people who don't have extra money and causing all sorts of problems. This is the first time that I ever felt robbed in my life!" I feel like someone literally came to my house and robbed us."
"Who do you know in a middle class working family that has an extra $400 that they can come up with out of thin air? It's insane!"
"Right now there is a giant question mark hanging over everybody's head right now in terms of whether any employers will continue to ensure employees. Everyone is dropping spouses and coverage – businesses don't know what's going to happen at the end of the year. This is hurting people who are not rich and people need to know that, and it will eventually hurt everyone badly." Hawley said.
One family in Alabama was shocked to see that their premium will go from $352 a month to $795.54 a month, and their deductible to go up from $500 to $2000. I asked the mother Courtney about her sticker shock. She said, "the BCBS letter (see below) we received says my policy now meets ACA requirements, and my premium included the required ACA tax and fees now. As of December 31 my policy premium is up $444.54 and my deductible has gone up $500 to $2000. This is going to cause my family to be uninsured."
"For years we have worked hard and stood on our own feet. Now this man (President Obama) has wrecked my finances and I am supposed to trust him to give me government money so that I can be insured and have the ability to take my children to the doctor. I was proud to be insured. At this point I'd rather be uninsured then depend on this man," she said.
Courtney's reaction is being echoed around the country.
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