ProPublica

Journalism in the Public Interest

Cancel

Loyal Obama Supporters, Canceled by Obamacare

Lee Hammack and his wife JoEllen Brothers thought they had a great insurance plan. Now, their cost is more than doubling to $1,300 a month, with higher out-of-pocket costs.

« Return to Story

Sort by: Oldest Newest  <  1 2 3 >

Kerry

Nov. 6, 2013, 1:54 p.m.

This is actually good news for all. Hammack and Brothers can just reduce their income until they qualify for welfare (subsidies).  Then the fact that they are paying high premiums for coverage they won’t use (birth control, etc.)  won’t bother them.

And the subsidies are happily provided by the young policyholders, unless they are among the many youthful unemployed.  In that case, the subsidy will be paid for by employed taxpayers.

Dean Spencer

Nov. 6, 2013, 1:54 p.m.

nothing more than a little collateral damage

Mary Kaye

Nov. 6, 2013, 1:54 p.m.

Who did American’s think would pay for all the add on coverage i.e. like maternity care for someone 60.  They money had to come from someone!  It’s not about good healthcare; it’s about redistribution of the wealth.

John Bryan

Nov. 6, 2013, 1:56 p.m.

What was probably missing is the maternity coverage. Of course, at their age, why would they need this? This “one shoe fits all” mentality of the administration is just ignorance of the real needs of citizens. But then they voted for it and now they have to live with it.

Bill Schiller

Nov. 6, 2013, 1:57 p.m.

For lots of us this story is compounded by the fact we are also either forced to pay even more to keep our doctors with a PPO plan (if possible) or switch all of them and go into an HMO or EPO plan.  This is just as stressful for our family as the 60% rise in our out of pocket expenses!

Wild Bill

Nov. 6, 2013, 1:57 p.m.

Hey, you get free birth control.  Show some gratitude!

Real Name

Nov. 6, 2013, 1:57 p.m.

You voted for this. Now own it.

John

Nov. 6, 2013, 1:57 p.m.

It was BAD insurance, no contraceptive or maternity coverage! They will now be covered under their new GOOD insurance. How could they possibly complain, the government has saved them from themselves and the risk of a pregnancy with no coverage!

Gavin

Nov. 6, 2013, 1:57 p.m.

Classic socialism!

working harder means more is taken from you! To each according to his need, from each according to his ability..

so, hey.. I guess we should do less!

Mike Lee

Nov. 6, 2013, 1:57 p.m.

Why is he writing to his Senators and Congressmen asking for special treatment?  Obamacare is the law of the land.  We’ve been told this over and over and over again.

People don’t get special favors because the law harms them.  There are lots of people the law harms…....get used to it.  Of course had the President been telling the truth, you could have kept your plan.  But a dishonest President was elected with Mr. Hammack’s help. 

This is the result.  He will just have to deal with it.

LastRebel

Nov. 6, 2013, 1:57 p.m.

Did you think that Obamacare was about health care? It’s about death panels, and rationing.

Fred Schmurtz

Nov. 6, 2013, 1:58 p.m.

So this couple has discovered that Obama blatantly lied to them, sees that the financial and medical consequences for him and his wife are potentially devastating, yet he says:

“We believe that the Act is good for health care, the economy, & the future of our nation. However, ACA options for middle income individuals ages 59 & 60 are unaffordable. We’re learning that many others are similarly affected. In that spirit we ask that you fix this, for all of our sakes.”

He believes that? despite his seeing, right in front of his face, that it is none of those things?

So if somehow Pelosi can fix this law for HIM, then he is sure everything will be fine for everybody. It doesn’t seem to occur to him that perhaps those of us who said for the past 3+ years this law was a disaster just might have known what we were talking about?

And his president lying to him about it for these years isn’t an issue either.

He reminds me of the Danville, CA man who recently had a similar experience and said:

“I have been all for the ACA. I just didn’t know that I personally was going to have to pay for it.” So as long as someone else had to pay for it, and someone else had to suffer the consequences, then it was fine, Now that it is HIM the law needs to be changed.

Hypocrisy is too mild a word.

Wacky Jackie

Nov. 6, 2013, 1:58 p.m.

Wait so now they will play the game of finding a loophole so they can pay little or nothing due to subsidies. What about the mantra of helping the greater good. Nope not you guys shift money to a retirement fund to get free medical. WOW then the left Coasters yell and want everyone who uses the tax laws to be punished. here’s an idea fix the tax laws and have a flat 12.5% tax for everyone regardless of how much you make. the wealthy would pay more instead of hiding behind loopholes everyone would have medical insurance and the deficiet would almost disappear.

Steve

Nov. 6, 2013, 1:58 p.m.

Look at the bright side. Now they have a GOOd plan, not junk!! Free birth control pills, maternity coverage even!! Free abortions, substance abuse coverage! certainly their junk plan didn’t even cover these necessities.

Shocked

Nov. 6, 2013, 1:58 p.m.

Not to worry. If they are loyal Obama voters, they will probably get an exemption.

“Reward your friends and punish your enemies….”

—Obama

alvin

Nov. 6, 2013, 1:58 p.m.

We lost our employer based insurance after 35 years, it was an ecellent insurance.  This is an interesting story, but dang sure not unique this is happening all across the nation.  It is going to get worse.  It is all by design, no leaders could be as incompetent as this bunch.

Vollero

Nov. 6, 2013, 1:59 p.m.

I can’t believe the blatant lies of the ‘consumer advocate’ Anthony Wright. Trying to rationalize the failing of the new system, he says, “It’s impossible to know what the world would have looked like for these folks in the absence of the law,”.

That’s ridiculous. We know exactly what the world would look like, because we have the hard evidence of their past experience. We know what they been buying for the past decade, what they got and how much they paid for it. The new plan costs more and delivers less, and they don’t like that.

JJ

Nov. 6, 2013, 2 p.m.

You reap what you sow.

Sara

Nov. 6, 2013, 2 p.m.

The author should have asked this couple what they expected Nancy Pelosi to do.  The author also should have mentioned what is happening now will not compare to when the employer mandate is put through.

oli

Nov. 6, 2013, 2 p.m.

Who or what is HealthAccess(sic) - no clear identity, no place/location, no mission statement, no identified funds, etc -  or its spokesperson, that such a quote of such dubious pseudo-justice abstraction enters the story? We can only wonder.

Fred Willkerson

Nov. 6, 2013, 2 p.m.

There are several interesting aspects to this article.  The first is the “surprise” that the policy owned before was not a cut rate policy.  Why should it be?  The insurance industry is one of the most regulated industries in the country and the cut rate policies that took advantage largely disappeared a long time ago.  It is as though there is this blind belief in what Mr. Obama says about previous insurance is absolutely true and does not need to be questioned.  Right!  I assume people do not realize that the Bronze Plan under Obamacare offers less than that legally allowed in some states like NY before Obamacare became the la.

Second, why are people shocked to discover that when you cover more benefits and cover people with pre-existing conditions that rates go up.  This naïve belief in something for nothing is shocking when heard from people who are supposedly educated.

Third is their response to this crisis.  Instead of manning up and simply stating that they voted for it, that they supported Obamacare and that they would pay the increased price, they take the reprehensible approach of trying to earn less money so that they can get subsidies.  Yep, they voted for everyone to suffer from this and when they are confronted with its reality, this couple runs to the idea of manipulating their income such that they can let the tax payers provide them a subsidy.  I guess it is easy to vote for expensive stuff when it is other people’s money you are going to use.

Peter Louis

Nov. 6, 2013, 2 p.m.

“The question is: Is health insurance something where people get a rate based on the luck of the draw or do we have something where we have some standards where people who live in the same community, of the same age, with the same benefit package are treated equally?”

Based on luck? Sounds like this couple made good decisions regarding their health. We want treat them the same as the other people whole live in the same COMMUNITY, regardless of their health habits?

Madness.

Bob Frantti

Nov. 6, 2013, 2:01 p.m.

...and it is only going to get worse .  Since when did we ever get the idea that it is good to discourage hard work and personal responsibility?  We’re becoming a country of freeloaders that think that as long as somebody else pays, let the benefits flow.  When the govt runs health care they won’t have to worry about running it with a profit to stay afloat, just tax more.  It is not insurance when pre-existing conditions are ignored.  What if we did the same with life insurance or car insurance and you could buy life after your spouse dies or buy collision coverage for the car after the wreck?  This whole situation is ridiculous and hard to comprehend.  We will never be the same.

Greg M

Nov. 6, 2013, 2:02 p.m.

Don’t worry, they will still vote for the Democratic Party next time around.

Jtom

Nov. 6, 2013, 2:02 p.m.

“Spreading the wealth” sounds so alluring until you discover they are talking about your wealth.

What do you starry-eyed liberals think will happen when your liberal government wants more money, but can’t sell the idea of higher taxes? Those subidies are going to fade away, either by direct reductions or by failing to keep up with inflation. You think you’re being hurt now? Just wait.

If you have a dollar in the bank, your liberalism will ensure that the government will find a way to take it - and the government won’t use it in the best interest of you and your family.

April

Nov. 6, 2013, 2:02 p.m.

Houston we have a problem.  A quick check on CoveredCA shows the price for the Bronze Kaiser plan as $1183 and the Silver is $1610.  So why is their new plan quoted as $1300?

Also if they invest in their business to keep income just under $62K next year the Tax Credit will make a Silver Plan cost $534 per month.

Is this another non-story?

Yes and no.  I points to the fact that rates are still very high for those over 50.  All the more reason we should bring the age down for Medicare it would be cheaper than the $1076 Tax Credit these folks can get by managing their finances to stay within the tax credit. 

The average cost of Medicare is around $700 a month.

Scott Powell

Nov. 6, 2013, 2:03 p.m.

From article: “We believe that the Act is good for health care, the economy, & the future of our nation. However, ACA options for middle income individuals ages 59 & 60 are unaffordable. We’re learning that many others are similarly affected. In that spirit we ask that you fix this, for all of our sakes,” he and Brothers wrote.

And this is the problem.  They blindly believe this is good for everyone, but now find out that once implemented, it’s really a nightmare for everyone.  Good for the economy?  Think how much money just got transferred from hard working citizens to the government and insurance companies.  This is the turning point.  Will we lay down like sheep, or rebel and take back some control?  My guess is sheep.

Dick Ranger

Nov. 6, 2013, 2:03 p.m.

Why is anyone who makes 400% above poverty getting any kind of subsidy? Why are we putting the middle class on welfare?

Kevin Alexander

Nov. 6, 2013, 2:04 p.m.

Most all of the companies that have said they will continue to offer their group plans will eventually cancel b/c they will get tired of paying the high price for everyone else and then everyone will be on the lookout for the cheapest plan.  This is going to get real ugly.

drm

Nov. 6, 2013, 2:06 p.m.

why don’t they go knock on Ms. .001% Pelosi’s door and ask her to cover their increased premiums?  That is what they support, tax the rich to pay for all of your goodies.  Funny though eventually you cannot tax the rich anymore and their votes actually hit their wallets.

Teresa Koch

Nov. 6, 2013, 2:07 p.m.

Hey, look on the bright side, kids - that “Junk” policy that you guys had didn’t cover contraception or maternity care.  Obviously, Kaiser has been ripping you off all these years.

Obama and Nancy Pelosi changed all of that - they wanted to be sure that EVERYONE has access to quality, affordable, healthcare, and according to them, they never said you could “keep your health care plan - period”, they said you could “keep your health plan if it met the new requirements” - just ask them.

They also said that there were going to be winners and losers, but that we’re all in this together.  Some of us are going to have to pay a little bit more so that others who have less can have the same things that everyone else does.

This is what Obama and Nancy Pelosi promised you.  Free healthcare for all - from each according to his ability, to each according to his need, and all that jazz.

On the bright side, isn’t it great to know that you guys are so rich?

Justin Woods

Nov. 6, 2013, 2:10 p.m.

In order to not qualify their Kaiser plan it would only have had to be missing one of the following ten categories of Essential Health Benefits (“EHBs”): ambulatory patient services; emergency services; hospitalization; maternity and newborn care; mental health and substance-abuse disorder services, including behavioral health treatment; prescription drugs; rehabilitative and habilitative services
and devices; laboratory services; preventive and wellness services and chronic disease management; and pediatric services, including oral and vision care.

Commonly, prior to the ACA, private market health coverage often excluded maternity/newborn care- which shouldn’t be much of an issue for a couple in their late 50s.

jazbond007

Nov. 6, 2013, 2:11 p.m.

Their insurance situation is very similar to mine. One difference I have with them is that I have never and will never support Obamacare. All the things the President and Democrats are saying about Obamacare now are lies. Obamacare only works if everyone is fooled by the continuous lies.

aaron reuland

Nov. 6, 2013, 2:13 p.m.

Did they think the coverage would be free? I like how he is going to “game” the system to avoid paying his true cost. Wonder how many other people will get the same idea?

Mike Hinckley

Nov. 6, 2013, 2:13 p.m.

Everyone knew this was going to happen, but some people felt the need to blindly follow.  I’m sorry this happened to them, but elections have consequences.

tom gilbert

Nov. 6, 2013, 2:13 p.m.

Not to worry Lee and JoEllen! Virginia voters whole heartedly voted in Terry McAuliffe as governor with a HUGE 55K voter margin (a bit lower than the pundits predicted) because of his strong endorsed the act.. Surely, yours is a unique situation and all is well for everyone else.

John T

Nov. 6, 2013, 2:14 p.m.

Yet they still seem to believe their case is the exception -all those other plans being cancelled are “junk” plans.

Those other plans are no more “junk” than theirs.

I have no sympathy for those who didn’t know this was going to happen, because this is how the ACA was designed. It only works if those who were previously covered pay more.

Consumer

Nov. 6, 2013, 2:15 p.m.

The ACA calculators have been available on the web for months. All anyone had to do was put in their info to get an estimate. These problems were obvious at that point. There are no brains on the case.  No one is home. That means the media has known about this for months and didn’t report on it. Say what you like about the Tea Party, they do read legislation and they tried to warn people.

  Also as you can see from this legislation that the law is going to push people to be non-productive.  I.e. Earn less money, which would not then be taxed. One calculation I did was, what would happen to a 60 year old couple who was making 62000 and one got a raise. They would lose their 14 thousand dollar subsidy.  So they would have to shelter income, like the couple above, not report income, or lose money in the stock market to declare a loss.  That behavior does not bode well for the Economy and JOBS. There are a lot of other fake surprises to come, if anyone would do their homework.

Stan O

Nov. 6, 2013, 2:15 p.m.

Same thing happened to us. Truly you would have to be either deluded or very ignorant to not have seen this coming.

And let’s be very clear about this Subsidy does NOT equal cheaper!

This whole thing needs to be overturned and a proper piecemeal approach implemented:

-MSA expansion
-tort reform
-no pre-existing condition
-increase options rather than limit them
-eliminate massive new federal bureaucracy

Jaded One

Nov. 6, 2013, 2:15 p.m.

Right, so you can now sock money into IRA’s to qualify for a subsidy, thereby getting a double tax break (not pay taxes on the income, I’m fine w/ IRA, and then not have that income counted as income for subsidy purposes)?  Also, anyone who has a mortgage or lives in an area w/ high property taxes is going to get a subsidy just because their adjusted income is lower?

Dave G

Nov. 6, 2013, 2:15 p.m.

You play with snakes, sometimes you get bit.

Danny Mann

Nov. 6, 2013, 2:15 p.m.

They sowed it and now its time for them to reap what they sowed. This is going on all over the country.
Die hard D’s are now in shock.
Companies like IBM, GE and DuPont are switching their retired plans to the ACA health exchanges. I know 4 people over 80 who are in this boat.

Don Butler

Nov. 6, 2013, 2:16 p.m.

I guess he didn’t realize he needed birth control and maternity coverage. Now he’ll have both.

William Randolph Hearst

Nov. 6, 2013, 2:16 p.m.

Dear Mr and Ms. Hammack-Brothers.  Welcome to the Drudge Report tsunami. 

Hope your vote for Obama was worth this 15 minutes of infamy.

august luck

Nov. 6, 2013, 2:18 p.m.

Don’t feel sorry for any Obama Drone! You reap what you sow!
At least now you’ll have mental health coverage for that liberal sickness!

Tim

Nov. 6, 2013, 2:18 p.m.

More stupid rich people who voted for Obama trying to get their handout/exemption.

Don

Nov. 6, 2013, 2:18 p.m.

Ye reap what ye sow.

Ken Dufresne

Nov. 6, 2013, 2:18 p.m.

I too was dropped from a Kaiser 40/4000 plan.  My monthly premiums were about $440/month.  I called and asked why I was cancelled.  The reason: we did not have maternity overage.  My wife and I opted out of this benefit because we are well past our child bearing years.  It is prudent not to pay for something you do not need. Since this plan with my options is not ACA compliant Kaiser will offer me a similar plan with maternity coverage for $1023/month.  I guess I’m a baby daddy and di not know it.  :(

Kell Mactell

Nov. 6, 2013, 2:18 p.m.

So he gets to save more for his retirement to lower his salary so he qualifies for tax payer subsidies, so he and his wife then qualifies for insurance subsidies and I get to pay for his insurance and mine too.  Sounds fair.

Alec Kohut

Nov. 6, 2013, 2:19 p.m.

This sounds fishy. If they got their plan in 1995 it can most certainly be grandfathered. This is a clear case of an insurance company lying through its teeth about the ACA.

Commenting is not available in this section entry.
This article is part of an ongoing investigation:
Obamacare and You

Obamacare and You

The Rollout of the Affordable Care Act has been marred by glitches and political opposition.

Get Updates

Stay on top of what we’re working on by subscribing to our email digest.

optional

Our Hottest Stories

  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •