When I was planning on leaving my traditional job, one question echoed in my head: “what about health insurance?” With the advent of the Affordable Care Act less than a decade prior, this is the question I heard elders ask when people left or lost their jobs. They gave the impression it was a grave act to lose a job, much less leave willingly, and forgo the almighty health insurance.
Health insurance must be really important and really difficult to secure, I thought.
While that may have been the case (sadly) in the past, the ACA no longer required us minions to chain ourselves to an employer just to meet our basic healthcare needs. That meant I could leave my job without having to find a new full time employer to fund my health insurance. Still, for all the times I had heard the countering “but what about health insurance” I expected it to be a mysterious and daunting challenge to overcome.
What I experienced was quite the opposite.
Selecting Health Insurance on the ACA
Selecting health insurance through the ACA occurs the same time of year that it does with an employer. November rolled around and I signed onto the ACA at healthcare.gov to enroll for health insurance. Once logged in, I found the process to be as straightforward as all other convoluted health insurance offerings are. The process is organized into four simple steps:
- Personal and Demographic info
- Review plans
- Select a plan
- Pay for first month
First I completed my profile with all kinds of personal and demographic information. Although it’s lengthy, it isn’t difficult.
Second, I reviewed all of the plans I’m eligible for in my state. For me (single, 37 year old, healthy woman with good income), these plans began at $339/mo. Plans are subsidized for those with low to no income, due to job loss or other reasons. For the partial year I was unemployed, my health insurance cost less than $15/mo.
The review stage has options to sort by lowest deductibles and lowest premiums. It also has filters to find only plans that meet my preferences.
Here are the top 4 plans that I chose from. I did not prioritize my dentist because I plan to do dental cleanings when I travel abroad and pay out of pocket when I’m here in the US.
Within the plan details, there is much more information about each plan. Costs for medical care, prescription drug coverage, hospital services, cost and coverage examples are only a few of the many artifacts detailing each plan. There is plenty of information to select a plan you feel confident in.
Select a Plan
After reviewing all of the available plans, I selected the plan I preferred. For me, this is the lowest deductible plan since I rarely require health insurance.
All that is left is for me to pay the first month’s premium so that my plan is active and they will send me insurance cards.
The ACA Doesn’t Solve Everything
My experience in getting affordable healthcare has been good largely because I’m healthy and (fairly) wealthy. There are still gaps for those with medical conditions and expensive prescription drugs. We still have the highest cost for healthcare in the developed world with below average outcomes. Separating healthcare from employment is a single step towards better healthcare in our country. We have many more steps to take.
“But What About Health Insurance?”
This is my third year using the ACA for health insurance and I have yet to find anything to be concerned about. Hopefully you can see how easy it is to sign up for health insurance on your own, and you don’t need to spend any time worrying about antiquated “but what about health insurance” questions.