America’s healthcare system is, to put it simply, a mess. I’m someone without a “real” job so I depend on the affordable care act, Obamacare, in order to get coverage. Now there are good things about Obamacare and it’s definitely an improvement. However, it still shows how far America is from the decent healthcare system that every other industrialized country has.
Until a single payer system is implemented, everyone who tries to retire before 65 will have to deal with the insurance market on their own, which is a complicated experience. First when looking for a plan you don’t get much information on what these plans will actually cover and what different things will cost. In some plans a visit to the emergency room, even if they do literally nothing for you, can cost you thousands. A trip in an ambulance would cost so much it’s ridiculous to even consider it. If you’re feeling close to death in a public place and someone asks if they should call you an ambulance. With your last breath you should say “No, I’ll take an Uber, thank you”. This is unfortunately due to the huge difference between having affordable insurance, and having insurance you will actually be able to afford to use.
If you’re lucky you will live in a place that has more than one health care providers in the Obamacare marketplace. I do not. Then you can choose what plan to get. There’s bronze, silver, gold, and platinum. The Bronze plans are the types of plans where if you ever need to use it you will be paying basically all the costs out of pocket in addition to the few hundred each month for your premium. I would only get a bronze plan if you are young, healthy, and unlikely to need medical care anytime soon. The upper tier plans will pay more when you need the insurance at the cost of much higher premiums.
In Obamacare you’re only good if you’re on one of the extremes: So healthy you know you won’t need to use your insurance, or so sick you know you will use it a lot and will want to pay for the better coverage. There really is no option for someone who is moderately healthy but could be in decline.
Obamacare is also irritating in that every time you move, make more/less money or any other life change; you have to get new insurance. Even if you’re still in the same city. The sign up process is also unnecessarily convoluted. You have to provide various paperwork to prove you’re poor enough for subsidies, or you had insurance recently, or any other number of things that should be irrelevant. In my experience the website is also painfully difficult to navigate. Even after you sign up for healthcare it will leave you wondering: What did I just sign up for?
The solution to reducing cost and simplifying health care has always been single payer. Thankfully many politicians are finally expressing an interest in doing just that. I don’t expect it to happen anytime soon, but I feel pointing to solutions to the problems are a step in the right direction. I was glad Obamacare hasn’t yet been repealed because that would have just made things worse.
If you ever hope to quit your job, then a single payer Medicare for all type plan is the best thing for you. But until that happens, you’ll have to trudge through Obamacare and hope you don’t get sick.