Thanks to ObamaCare, the good job I had for 10 years evaporated last October. The market for our products never recovered from the recession because ObamaCare motivated businesses to move many jobs from full-time to part-time, and to cut other jobs entirely. Our customers could no longer buy our products in sufficient quantities, so my employer had a layoff. Since I will soon be 62, I have decided to retire. No, it’s not what I wanted. But no one will hire an Engineering Manager who is 61 when there are plenty of good candidates who are 40-something.

After the layoff, I started looking for an individual healthcare plan for 2013. Since I was already covered by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (BCBSNC) through my company, I looked only at BCBSNC plans. I wanted the fewest possible transition headaches. After weeks of poring over deductibles, co-pays, benefits, and doing many A-B comparisons, I settled on a plan with a $3500 deductible and 40% in-network co-pays. I did this knowing that I have good credit, and money saved for retirement that could be used for healthcare if necessary. And I needed to minimize monthly insurance costs given my reduced circumstances. For you insurance wonks, it’s the BCBSNC Blue Advantage Saver 2 plan.

In a perfect world, I would keep the plan I’ve got. Life would be as simple as Obama promised, right? “If you like your plan, you can keep it.” Liar! My plan is not grandfathered by ObamaCare, so I am stuck finding something else, either from BCBSNC or another company.... or, no health insurance at all.

Unfortunately, there isn’t any specific information available about plans that will be offered on October 1st. That’s the date the exchanges will open for individuals to start evaluating healthcare plans. But I have fired up the BCBSNC “Blue Map” web tool, and found some stuff that gives me a splitting headache:

“The Affordable Care Act (ACA) includes many new taxes and fees that will increase overall premiums.”

“Those who apply for coverage with serious or pre-existing conditions won't be denied coverage. This guarantee contributes to overall costs as well.”

“You may have heard about subsidies that exist under the ACA to help people afford insurance. Unfortunately, we predict you won't qualify for subsidies or if you do, it may likely be a small amount.”

“We predict your rates will increase substantially as a result of the ACA. We know this isn't good news for you, but we can help explain why rates are increasing.”

Gee, thanks. BCBSNC and the Democrats are screwing me, but here’s some castor oil to make it feel better. Didn’t Obama promise that our healthcare expenses would decrease by $2500 per year? Liar! So far, I have seen no news reports where this is expected to happen.

Remember those improved benefits I mentioned? We’re paying for them whether we need them or not. A real marketplace would offer stripped-down plans that do not include benefits not needed by the customer. However, vote-buying Democrats have determined for us what is “essential” for insurance:

“Essential health benefits include … ambulatory patient services; emergency services; hospitalization; maternity and newborn care; mental health and substance use disorder services, including behavioral health treatment; prescription drugs; rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices; laboratory services; preventive and wellness services and chronic disease management; and pediatric services, including oral and vision care.”

Does a guy who is 61 need maternity and newborn care? How about pediatric services, including oral and vision care? How about those birth control pills and morning-after pills that Sandra Fluke, Obama, and the Democrats want everyone to have? For free, right? Nobody has to pay for this stuff, right?

“Your out-of-pocket expenses may also be lower. All non-grandfathered plans have an annual cap on out-of-pocket expenses, estimated at $6,350 for individuals and $12,700 for a family, the maximum required by the ACA. This doesn't include premium costs."

So, for a significant increase in premiums, I might actually save on out-of-pocket expenses? But these savings assume I have a significant health problem. Otherwise, there are no savings, just higher premiums. Didn’t Grand Poobah Obama just unilaterally amend ObamaCare to delay this cap? Thanks, Barack.

Unbelievably, this stuff gets even more stupid:

“Carriers can no longer increase rates by gender or health status. Healthy people may now pay more, sick people may pay less, and men and women will now pay the same rate.”

What? Women have always paid more for health insurance because they typically use considerably more healthcare services than men! Sick people who inherently cost the system more have paid more, too! Worse, ObamaCare is structured to make young, healthy folks who generally do not buy healthcare services pay more into the system so the older, sicker folks can pay less. How can that possibly work? Unless these young folks are fairly wealthy, it will never happen! Can you imagine an average young person who pays for rent, utilities, groceries, car payments, student loan, clothes, and leisure being able to find hundreds of dollars per month for ObamaCare? How many young folks, whose 40-hour job was chopped down to 29 hours, find that money? Even if they get a subsidy, there will not be enough “fat” in their paycheck to afford ObamaCare. ObamaCare is not insurance! It is purely government-sponsored socialism for transferring wealth from one group of citizens to another! Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) is right- it’s a train wreck.

ObamaCare has now missed half of the deliverables supporting its “go live” dates. And Obama has pushed out the date for the ObamaCare mandate to apply to big businesses. He wants individual insurance buyers (like me), who are paying the entire premium cost themselves, to subsidize big businesses for a year. How is this “strengthening the middle class” Obama? Huh? Did the unions or GE win another backroom favor from you? What did they promise you in return?

And you expect us to give you our private health history. This is so your Independent Payment Advisory Boards (IPAB) can begin controlling every aspect of ObamaCare cost by limiting expensive procedures for us old folks, right? I think the vernacular for IPAB is “death panel”, right? Sarah Palin was right.

And you plan to use thousands of people from ACORN, Planned Parenthood and similar lowlife as “navigators” to help drag folks like me into the system, right? We’re supposed to trust the IRS after three years of intimidating Tea Party groups who requested 501(c)4 status? And your HHS is rigging-up a “video contest” to entice young folks into buying an ObamaCare policy, right? Lord knows, the product you’re selling is too fat, ugly and expensive to attract buyers all by itself.

Sorry to tell you Mr. Obama, but I will not be your guinea pig. I will not buy into such a mess, but here’s what I will do:

I will find a “concierge physician” who will take $50-$100 per month cash from me, and in return will provide my basic primary care services. Absent that, I’ll find an Urgent Care doc who takes credit cards, and go from there. All my meds for blood pressure and gout are generic. I will pay for them out of pocket.

Anything beyond these checkups and meds I will pay for out-of-pocket from retirement savings. I plan to be careful not to get hit by a bus. This is called “personal responsibility” and all Americans should practice it. I’d prefer to have a Health Savings Account as Dr. Ben Carson proposed, but since you are a socialist (and he’s not) I’m stuck without one for now.

I’m a believer in the free-market system. Healthcare providers must compete for customers just like grocery stores and used car lots. The more we use them on a cash basis, the less they will need to pay for endless administrative support staff and insurance clerks. That is how ObamaCare should have been structured: to foster competition among healthcare providers and to make insurance something that is mainly for catastrophic problems. This is the way insurance used to be in the ‘50s and ‘60s, and it worked well.

Obama, your healthcare system is a complete disaster. I predict I will not be the only one to pay the fee / penalty / fine / tax instead of buying your expensive plan. Maybe the next Congress and President can kill ObamaCare and start over from scratch.

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