What Health Care Reform Means to My Family

by Kay Lynn

health insurance reform bill

I didn’t write about health care reform while it was moving through Congress or in the immediate aftermath.  The only mention of it here was in this infographic.  Unless you read comments I made a couple on a couple of other blogs it probably appeared as though it wasn’t important to me. 

That is far from the truth.  I was afraid to talk about it lest I jinx it from happening.  I was also a bit intimidated by the intensity of some people against it.

I don’t think this post will change any one’s minds but wanted to share how the passed bill will help three people in my family.

The Student

My son just turned 24 and is a full time student at paramedic school.  He was a full time student last year when he aged out of his parents’ health plan.  Yes, he could have purchased individual health insurance but uses his part time income to support his car and personal expenses. 

The passed bill gives him the opportunity to return to his parents’ insurance plan in the Fall.  That might be too late for him as he’ll be done with paramedic school and will hopefully find a job with benefits.  It will be helpful to thousands of other young adults in his situation.

The Nurse

My sister, a licensed vocational nurse, had a full-time job with health insurance.  The nursing home where she worked started having declining census (not sure if it was related to the economy or not) and her hours were cut.    This is after her husband was laid off the previous year as a direct result of the recession.

She tried to wait out the low census but were struggling on one reduced income.  She found a job that would have full time hours plus opportunity for overtime.  BUT, and  this is a big one, the new employer does not offer health insurance. 

My sister and her husband have pre-existing conditions that prevent them from getting reasonably priced individual insurance options.  She’s on cobra for now, but was worried about her options after it ends.  Thanks to health care reform her employer will most likely end up offering health insurance or face penalties. 

The Early Retiree

This isn’t a relative but me and I’m not there yet.  However, due to our difference in age I want to retire at age 60 and spend some of my husband’s golden years traveling at will.

My only concern with this plan was health insurance.  Was I going to be forced to keep working just to keep covered?  Like my sister, I have a pre-existing condition that, although well-controlled, would drive away any potential insurer.

I feel more hopeful that there will be affordable heath insurance options for me enabling us to go forward with our retirement plans. 

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Think about your family.  You probably have relatives that will benefit from the health insurance reform bill.  Maybe even you. 

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Craig Ford April 19, 2010 at 12:58 pm

I thought this was a fantastic post. Everything about health care reform has been so general and vague that it was nice to see how it impacts an actual family in different stages.
.-= Craig Ford´s last blog ..How to Save Up To $500 A Year Dining Out =-.

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Bucksome April 19, 2010 at 6:04 pm

Thanks, Craig. I wanted to put a face (or faces) on the subject. It’s not just academic.

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Jersey Mom April 19, 2010 at 2:04 pm

I’m glad your family will benefit from this bill. I am still unsure how it’ll play out in the long term…
.-= Jersey Mom´s last blog ..How We Met =-.

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Bucksome April 19, 2010 at 6:05 pm

Jersey Mom, I don’t think anyone really knows despite all the studies and experts. I do want to add that I don’t think it’s perfect and there will surely be changes over time.

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TheDebtHawk.com April 20, 2010 at 3:44 am

Bucksome,

Thanks for putting the health care bill into real life examples. I think that this is really good for the dialogue that the country should have had regarding this important issue.

I agree with the benefits presented above. However, my concern with the health care bill is the price to be paid for these benefits.

If you take your son as an example, he probably could have purchased pretty inexpensive health insurance through his school. I know I did when I went to law school. But, now his taxes will go up for the rest of his life to pay for the short term health care benefit that he received. Depending on the amount of tax increases that will be imposed, he might be spending a lot more for health care than he otherwise would have if he purchased a cheaper policy that is available to most students.

The big problem for me with this bill is that people talk as if there is no price to pay for increased health care coverage. There will be a price in the form of higher taxes.

The real problem people have with health care today is its cost. If the savings on health insurance are offset with higher taxes, I just don’t see how we are better off (although I am glad that the pre-existing conditions issue appears to be resolved). And, since the bill contained almost no cost reduction measures, I predict that the cost of health care will increase pretty dramatically.

I hope that I am wrong, but it seems like pretty basic economics to me.

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Bucksome April 20, 2010 at 4:20 am

Debt Hawk, I agree that the true cost has not been clearly shown. Supposedly the CBO is non-partisan so I tend to lean towards reform saving money, but am skeptical on the amount provided.

My thoughts are that it will improve with time as we figure it out.

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fern April 21, 2010 at 3:49 pm

I’m in the same boat as you with a pre-existing condition that requires very expensive meds. It could be an issue once my COBRA ends, as well as when I wish to retire, also at age 60.

Unfortunately, the protection for those with pre-existing conditions (and who doesn’t have one these days?) doesn’t go into effect for another 4 years.

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Bucksome April 22, 2010 at 5:31 am

Glad to hear this legislation will help others for the same reason. It will be difficult for those that will be in the gap between the law passing and the effective date of certain parts. Thanks for pointing that out.

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Janette April 24, 2010 at 5:30 pm

My daughter and husband can afford to get out of the military and return to school. The university offers coverage- a mere $750. a month! The coverage pulls them into Medicare (or is it cade…) BTW- Debthawk – those insurances are few and far between and only for catastrophic care. Our dd’s deductible was $5000. before she married.
My nephew and his wife will be covered. He was not accepted into his company’s health care plan since he has a chronic illness.
My sister in law may be able to find coverage- she had cancer at age 41 and her premiums are outrageous.
The ones I sort of chuckle over are people like my mom protesting the bill. She has plenty of money and still uses Medicare as her first insurance. Why is she complaining that the other people get any less than she does? She was a housewife- so she did work- but she never contributed to the system….
As a retired military person with coverage until death- this is a basic for a good life. It is about time we have a start.

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Diane August 4, 2010 at 3:09 pm

It’s great to be needy like me and yall. We don’t even have to worry who is paying for our health care we can’t afford anyway.

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Bucksome August 5, 2010 at 4:37 am

Diane, what do you mean by needy? I think I’m missing the point.

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Diane August 5, 2010 at 5:21 am

Just that I can’t afford to pay for insurance either and I worry about where the money is coming from to pay all our insurance. Also about the doctors because a really lot of them won’t take medicad now because they don’t make enough to pay their expenses. Does that mean we’ll have much less doctors and so have to wait a long time for treatments. Have you checked out the health systems of Canada and England to see how good they are? I’m thinking we may have health care but it’s not going to mean much when we can’t get to a doctor or they want extra money, that we don’t have, under the table.

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