- Posted October 12, 2012 by
Aiken, South Carolina
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Final presidential debate: Unanswered questions
In both debates, the Republican candidates said that their plan would eliminate exclusions for preexisting conditions. A Romney spokes person clarified the Republican position the day after the presidential debate saying that as long as a person maintains health insurance continuously they can not be denied coverage for a preexisting condition. Additionally, she said that this was currently the case.
Well, it's not. We sold our business and moved to another state to care for an ailing parent. We immediately purchased health insurance from the very same company that had covered my employees for all those years. We purchased the new individual coverage before cancelling the company coverage.
We were surprised to find we were denied coverage on two conditions for me and one for my wife. Although neither of us had ever been treated for back issues, both of us were excluded for any issue pertaining to our spines. I was excluded for acid reflux for which I had been treated. My wife had been treated for it as well. At the time of the application, we were both getting along well with over the counter acid reflux treatments. I was excluded and fortunately, my wife was not.
Governor Romney says that he favors private insurance because if he becomes dissatisfied with his coverage, he can fire his current carrier and go somewhere else.
Most of us live in an entirely different world from Governor Romney. Having been denied coverage for a preexisting condition, there is no health insurer in our state or any other that will allow us to enroll. There is no changing. There is no "firing" unless we just want to be uninsured.
As an individual purchaser of health insurance we are not entitled to the same benefits and protections that employer covered people have. Additionally, an employee receives health insurance as a benefit paid for with pre tax money. We pay our taxes and then buy our individual coverage with what's left over. If we cross a set threshold amount in premiums and out of pocket expense we can then take some deductions for our health care expenses.
I see a great deal said about people who can't or won't buy health insurance but very little attention paid to those of us who do go to huge expense to buy our own coverage.
I like a great deal of what the PPACA [Obamacare] offers. I read that Obamacare is a government takeover of health insurance. Since we pay $19,000 in annual premium combined with a $6000 deductible for our coverage through a private insurer, I'm at a loss to understand how Obama has socialized medicine. We pay 20% of our annual gross income for health insurance and now I read that Governor Romney wants to lower my tax rate and take away my deduction for health care. If he lowers the rate and I end up paying more because I will lose deductions on health care along with state and local taxes, all I can say is Governor please don't reduce my tax rate. I can't afford it.
My biggest concern with both candidates is their clueless notions of how to best address the issues that we all face. I do not like everything that Obamacare does but the big thing I do like is that I'm at least slightly more protected against going bankrupt over an illness.
Governor Romney paid 14% in federal tax last year. On a great deal less we paid 20% on health care alone. Then we paid federal state and local taxes. My federal tax rate was 15%. I won't close with an ugly verbal shot at Governor Romney but I will say it would be nice if he were questioned about his proposals by someone who had a clue what is actually happening with our health care system.
The last thing I'll mention is rate increases. I hear Governor Romney and especially congressman Ryan blame this president for "huge" health insurance rate increases since the passage of Obamacare. It's obvious to me that neither of these guys have written a check in the last 20 years to a health insurer. When I had my business, 10% annual premium increases were standard through the 90's and up to 4 years ago when we became individual insureds. Each year we just told employes that their deductibles and copay's were going up to offset our expense.
The first three years as individual insureds we saw premium increases of as much as 25% and never less than ten. For the last two years under Obamacare we have seen 10% increases. Bear in mind that the full law doesn't take effect until 2014.
We did have one very nice surprise thanks to Obamacare. In June we received a $1000 refund from our carrier along with an explanation that it was due to their not meeting the requirement under the new law that no more than 15% could be spent on administrative costs.
I'll take it. I'll also vote for Obama too.