The Affordable Care Act doesn’t work for everyone. Here’s how to opt out of Obamacare and enroll an alternative solution.
Since leaving our corporate jobs, my husband and I have spent an obscene amount of money on health insurance that never covers …anything. On the rare occasion that Igo in-network, the appointment is usually a dud … punctuated by the scripts I won’t fill, the treatments I decline, and the follow-up appointments I won’t make.
So when I took a look at what theAffordableCare Act says my family must now pay, I knew we were done. I hadreached the point beyond which I will not be pushed.
When it comes to health insurance, the Habakus family is sending a pink slipto government and industry. I’ve found a solution for my family that’s also a tangible rejection ofthe current system.
ObamacareDoesn’t Work For Everyone
To make matters worse,your doctor might be among the over214,000 providers exitingtheObamacare exchanges — about 25% of all professionally active physicians.
I’ve kept our insurance this long because, well, you know … someone might need a limb reattached. But I haven’t been applying critical thinking to this decision.
The prospect of paying twice as much for less of what I want finally got my attention — along with the knowledge that the pharma-government-insurance complex will deliver more changes that I won’t like.
But There’s a Lot More at Stake Than Money
With traditional health insurance, I wonder about entering into a situation I may really regret. Once you choose one of their “can’t-go-out-of-network” doctors and walk through those hospital doors with your child …
YOU’RE ON THEIR TURF
And make no mistake — you are no longer in charge. It’s not always possible to say, “No, thanks.”The institutional response to disagreement about health care treatment has become increasingly Draconian.
Imagine, God forbid, your child is very sick and the hospital is insisting on “lifesaving,”standard of caremedical interventions that you are unwilling to pursue.The only person standing between you and a total nightmare is your physician.Now let’s assume you chose the doctor because she takes your insurance.Will you be surprised to learn that she’s not on your side?
If the hospital won’t discharge your child, you can’t leave.It happens all the time.It happened to me. OnceChild Protective Services is called, you’re in big trouble.Legal medical kidnappingis a growing problem. (Tune intoFearless Parent Radio™on December 17).
WHY I’M KICKING MY INSURANCE TO THE CURB
I will no longer participate in a system that incentivizes me to use health care I do not want.
I will no longer subsidize health care that conflicts so fundamentally with my values and beliefs.
I will no longer support a hidebound industry with zero innovation, bad customer service, andobscenely high executive compensation.
I no longer feel safe with traditional health insurance coverage. The dynamic has become adversarial. I want more control.
I refuse to pay one more dime into a dysfunctional, overpriced, abusive, unethical, damaging, and totally broken system for insurance coverage that I stand on my head to avoid at all costs.
Big words, but now what?
Ways to Opt Out of Obamacare
If you procrastinated like I did, then you’re probably scrambling to figure out your options. There are differentways to scrap Obamacare. It’scompletely legit,but you have to do your homework. I learned that:
- You have topay a penaltyunless you’reexempt.
- Alternative plans includecritical illnessinsurance, supplementalaccident and sicknesscoverage, andfixed benefitplans.
- There arestrategies for self-pay patientsto lower their bills.
- Health care sharing ministries aregrowing rapidly.
Huh? What’s a Health Care Sharing Ministry?
It is a cost sharing arrangement for medical expensesamong people who hold similar religious beliefs. It is not insurance; no one assumes responsibility for your medical bills. It isexempt from Obamacare. There are four “grandfathered” options.Three are open topracticing Christiansand one is for peoplecommitted to religious liberty.
THEY SHARE SOME SIMILARITIES
- Individuals and families pay a monthly share.
- Payments are made to members with approved medical bills.
- Members adhere to certain lifestyle guidelines, including abstention from tobacco and illegal drugs, andsign a statement of faith or belief.
- Certain expenses may beexcluded (i.e., those associated with pre-existing conditions, preventive care, vaccinations, dental, vision, birth control, abortions, STDs, and infertility).
THERE ARE ALSO IMPORTANT DIFFERENCES
- Monthly share amount
- Extent of financial risk and maximum amount shared per medical need
- Central payment or direct sharing to members
- Use of in-network providers
- Sharing for alternative treatments
- Incentive discounts for achieving specific health goals
Why We ChoseSamaritan Ministries
Samaritan Ministries Internationalis an Illinois-based not-for-profit corporation that started sharing medical needs in 1994. As of November 2014, there are 39,000 participating households with 129,500 members (up 62% in the past year).
We chose Samaritan for several reasons:
First, it’s well run. Here’s their2012 Form 990.We spoke with current members who rave about it. I couldn’t find any online complaints. When I asked our agent for dirt on Samaritan, he mustered a feeble defense for insurance. He admitted that he’s losing customers to it: “It really works.” I lovethat Samaritan contracts withThe Karis Groupto negotiate discounts — typically 40-45% — on our behalf.