Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Friends in Texas, Healthcare and Obama Cares

Well, this past week it seemed like we were being punished for having a week of sun and fun in Mexico.  The weather here in Texas turned cool and rainy and we did not see the sun all week.  There were a couple of days when we did not even open the door. I guess it proves we are really spoiled by being able to travel to warm, sunny locales most of the time.  When we finally ventured out on Saturday it turns out we had some friends in the park that we did not know about because everyone had been staying inside.  We also decided to take advantage of the clear skies and get the road dirt off of Opus.  He just had a good cleaning in Florida last month but driving two days in the rain made it look like he had not been washed in months.  
Here is Nanc doing the windows and look who showed up to supervise, Marvin.  We had not seen him since last fall when we were at Betty's.  It was good to see him even if he immediately took a seat and began pointing out spots we had missed.  I always say every job needs a supervisor and Marvin is an expert. 
Marvin told us that John and Joyce, whom we also met at Betty's last fall, were in the park too so we all got together for lunch on Sunday and then came back to our place to catch up on every one's travels and soak up some sun.  As we always say, making and meeting friends is one the the best things about our life on the road.


When we retired and went on the road in 2007 we knew health care insurance would be our biggest expense.  I was a year and a half from Social Security and four and a half years from Medicare.  Nanc is four years younger so we knew it would be four more years before she began to receive these wonderful government programs.  I did have a nice lump sum retirement payment that we thought would get me to Medicare, but it soon became apparent that it was not going to be enough as health care costs soared.  We were able to purchase our health insurance through my old employer until I went on Medicare and after that, Nanc was able to continue in the same plan for three more years. The last three years the rates had gone up very little so, even though it was expensive, Nanc was able to keep the same insurance we had had for more than thirty years. 

Last November the three years Nanc was able to get insurance through my former employer was up, so we had to go to the health care marketplace to purchase coverage for her for one year, as she will get Medicare this November.  We went on line and registered our names and were quickly inundated with calls and emails from insurance brokers.  There was also an issue with the two largest health care and health insurance providers in Pittsburgh, so we knew we would have to insure with a different company that would cover Nanc's doctors and provide nationwide coverage while we traveled.  While I have a pretty good understanding of the whole health insurance thing based on being a negotiator for four contracts, it was still a bit overwhelming.  We finally found a broker in Florida that we were comfortable with and purchased a bronze policy that cost about the same as our old policy with only slightly higher co-pays.  We are not eligible for any subsidies but overall we were happy with the coverage.  

Then we got the bill for the new 2015 rates and we were appalled that the cost of the policy was going to increase by $136 a month.  After a couple of days ranting about the evils of Obamacare (a surprise to those who know me), we decided to call the broker in Florida to see if we had any other options.  It turns out that Aetna, the plan we bought in November, had sharply increased their rates but there were other options available.  The broker did a search and found a silver United Healthcare policy (better than the bronze we had) that was not only less expensive than the Aetna policy for 2015, but it was less than we paid in 2014.  While it was a hassle and did require a lot of time on the phone, the new, better policy is going to cost us $1500 less for the ten months until Nanc goes on Medicare.  Overall, the experience was a bit of a hassle, but in the end we were able to purchase a policy that meets our needs until Nanc is enrolled in the great American socialist program Medicare in November.  From our personal experience we have to say, Obama Cares. 

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