Tuesday, January 10, 2017

How and why I bought an ACA policy for my family

Originally posted in fall 2013--updated January 2017

I signed up for an ACA policy myself.  Although I do not qualify for subsidies, it still provides very good coverage at a price much lower than my current policy.  (My current policy is a COBRA policy based on my late husband's prior family policy coverage at his job.)  Even without subsidies, our new policy will cost less than half of what we would be paying if we stayed on COBRA, and also much less if we bought one of the nongroup policies currently available on the open market in New York State.

Because I am in great health and also fortunate to be able to cover "the small stuff", effectively self-insuring for small routine expenses, the best choice for me appeared to be a no frills high deductible "Bronze" policy from a highly rated HMO, Capital District Physicians Health Plan (CDPHP).  Our family has used CDPHP in the past.  They have a very solid track record and we have confidence in the physicians we have used who are part of their network.  In fact, a recent issue of Consumer Reports showed that CDPHP ranked #1 health care plan in New York State and among the top 20 health plans anywhere in the country by the National Council on Quality Assurance, a national nonprofit accreditation agency.

There were several other choices that also looked quite appealing and might meet other family's needs and circumstances better including a number of plans from MVP, also a well ranked health plan in the rankings cited by Consumer Reports as a "best buy."

Update:  I have now had three full years of this coverage and have just started my fourth year.  It has worked well for me, providing access to an excellent network of health care providers at much lower cost than I would have been able to obtain before ACA.  My first year (unsubsidized) premium for a high deductible Bronze family policy was $626/month.  It has increased an average of $23 per year over each of the past three years, less than 4% per year.  This is more than the overall CPI but less than many of the headlines suggest.  It has also qualified me to open a Health Savings Account.  I recognize that others, particularly in other states, have had worse experiences.


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