“The law isn’t making health-care more affordable, it’s masking a huge price increase.”
These sentiments, expressed by Shannon Wendt of Grand Rapids, Michigan, are but the latest version of a common refrain being sung throughout the United States: The Affordable Care Act (ACA), aka ObamaCare, is egregiously misnamed.
Wendt, a 30-year-old mother of five, recently discovered what many other parents are also learning the hard way: If their children are eligible for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), they must be covered under that program, not under a family health plan bought on an exchange. Otherwise, the family will forfeit its premium-assistance subsidy — in many cases, the only thing making insurance affordable under the ACA, which otherwise drives up premiums.
According to FOXBusiness, Wendt struggled for months to obtain health insurance through Healthcare.gov, spending much of her Christmas Eve trying to make sure her family would be covered when the new year arrived — a necessity given that “her family’s Blue Cross Blue Shield plan was cancelled for not meeting certain requirements under” ObamaCare. On the very last day of 2013, she managed to obtain temporary coverage directly from Blue Cross Blue Shield, albeit with a significantly increased premium and deductible from the family’s previous plan.
Once Wendt — who, with her husband, Zach, is a small-business owner — finally managed to get Healthcare.gov to work, she discovered that because their family income falls below 200 percent of the federal poverty level, the Wendts qualify for a subsidy for buying insurance, and their children are eligible for CHIP. The catch is that the children must be enrolled in CHIP. If they are added to the family’s plan that was purchased on the exchange, the Wendts can kiss their subsidy goodbye.
“If we want our children on our family plan — whether its [sic] two or 10 people — we lose the subsidy,” Wendt told FOXBusiness. “It’s amazing that they are forcing families onto government health-care. It almost feels like an attack on small business owners. This revelation is more frustrating than the initial glitch.”
The Wendts are hardly alone in their predicament.
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