Aging Has Some Perks…

This is not a political blog. I’m just going by the numbers.

Until 2015 Diane and I had terrific health insurance at almost no cost. She retired from the City of Stockton and both she and I were covered under a very generous plan. That all ended with the bankruptcy.

The retirees’ health benefits made up the largest single creditor in the bankruptcy. The court appointed administrator determined that the present value of what the city owed Stoker and me was around $400,000. We got a check for less than 1% of that and were thrown out on our own for health insurance.

For Stoker this was not much of a problem. She was over 65, that magic age when Medicare kicks in and all you have to do is buy a quite affordable supplement to cover what Medicare doesn’t.

I am Stoker’s ‘trophy husband’, so I was too young for Medicare. But since the Affordable Care Act had just passed I could go shopping.

My first trip to Covered California back in 2015 to peruse plans was a shock. The least expensive plan was $412 per month. For one person. With a $5,000 deductible. And significant co-pays. And a $15,000 out of pocket maximum. Since I am generally pretty healthy I bought the cheapest non-Kaiser plan I could. Actually Kaiser was on the Covered CA site too, and they weren’t that much cheaper.

Sticker Shock Site

Since then, every October I receive a nice letter from Anthem telling me what next year’s premium is going to be. I recently received my 6th such letter. $921 per month! Over $11,000 per annum! With a $6,300 deductible, $20,000 max out of pocket, and those ever increasing co-pays. My premium is 123% higher than 6 years ago, an annual increase of 17.4% compounded.

I went back to Covered CA to see if this was my best option, and unless I want to go to Kaiser to save a very few dollars, it is.

But wait, Covered CA reminds me that there are subsidies available to pay all or part of the premium. I was asked a few questions, then told I was out of luck, but more nicely: “It appears you do not qualify for assistance at this time.”

I don’t think Stoker and I are rich, but apparently Covered CA does.

Now if this were a political blog I might write that calling this law the “Affordable Care Act” is something straight out of 1984’s Ministry of Truth. Mr. Orwell, how right you were!

But since this isn’t a political blog, I’ll just say that I turn 65 in June, finally eligible for manna from Medicare.

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