Q. My husband and I are both self employed and have Obamacare (aka The Affordable Care Act,ACA). Even though we make a good income, it fluctuates but we do not qualify for any subsidies. Our premium has jumped to over $1000 per month with a deductible of $6500!! There is nothing affordable about raising our premium 76%. Our stress level has also jumped 76%. What is happening to hard working people whose incomes do not jump even close to 76%
Janet and Kyle
A. Oklahoma has only one health care provider, Blue Cross and Blue Shield (BCBS). All the other insurance carriers have left Obamacare. When losses exceed premiums, the only options are to stop doing business with this group of Oklahomans or raise premiums.
According to John Doak, Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner, since the 2014 implementation of the ACA, BCBS combined losses are more than $300 million. So they can exit this group of people, leaving them with no coverage or they can skyrocket the premiums.
Subsidies sound great but not everyone qualifies for them. It sounds like you and your husband fall into the group of people that will have to find a way to make more money on your own. As if you didn’t have enough stress, now this.
Oklahoma is an unhealthy state. According to Business Insider, Dec 2013, Oklahoma ranks #7 on the 10 Unhealthiest States List. Obesity rates are high in our state. The amount of public funding available for health care has dropped 40% in the past two years. Addiction rates are high.
Options for those on Obamacare are limited but the following are suggestions:
1. Check to see if you qualify for any subsidies.
2. Don’t have insurance and pay the penalty at tax time.
3. Spend less – can you modify your budget?
4. Work more – not good for mental health/physical health
5. Lower stress by staying as healthy as possible
*exercise–get out and move your body *nutrition–choose healthy options, avoid impulse eating *laugh — there are funny moments — seize them *sleep — most people are sleep deprived
Maybe you can motivate the unhealthy Oklahomans to put down their fork and put their walking shoes on. This is a serious issue with a serious consequence and a domino affect that could be disastrous.
Vicki L Mayfield, M.Ed., R.N., LMFT Marriage and Family Therapy Oklahoma City
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