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My Turn: Surprise! I signed up for health insurance and it worked!

As someone who recently signed onto the site and enrolled into a new, more affordable health insurance plan through the marketplace, I am certainly aware of the challenges with the new healthcare.gov website. Unfortunately, these problems are overshadowing the stories of people like me who are now able to buy health insurance at a reasonable cost.

Like many in New Hampshire, my husband and I are self-employed. Buying insurance on the open market has been very expensive. Both of us are currently enrolled in plans that are set to expire on Dec. 31, so I went to Healthcare.gov the first day it opened to buy coverage for 2014. After some initial technical challenges, healthcare.gov was actually easy.

Completing the application was straightforward, and I was surprised to discover that I qualify for a tax credit. Because my health insurance has always been so expensive, I didn’t have much hope that I’d be saving any money as a result of the Affordable Care Act. In fact, I had initially hoped to pay about the same. But based on our adjusted gross income, we qualified for a tax credit. I think many people in New Hampshire – including people like us who are self-employed and have had to pay so much toward insurance in the past – will find this to be a huge benefit.

When healthcare.gov gave me some technical challenges, I followed up with a call to the 800 number. Unlike most technical assistance call centers, a real person answered the phone and I was able to confirm that I was in fact enrolled. I also used the “live chat” help when I had a question about coverage. Again, it was very easy.

About two weeks later, I received my dental insurance information and cards to use when it begins on Jan. 1. My health insurance information is also on its way.

My total time on the computer was about an hour.

To me, that was time well spent. I pay more than $1,400 a month for my insurance now and, as high as that it is, it was going to increase on Jan. 1 without the Affordable Care Act.

As it is, when the New Year starts, I will be enrolled in an $870-per-month “gold” plan, a plan with slightly higher premiums but lower co-pays and deductible. This new plan will save us hundreds of dollars a month in health care costs.

My experience on Healthcare.gov was a positive one overall, but I do understand that for others it has been a frustrating struggle of logging in and waiting with little to show for it. I’m glad to hear there is a special technical team now at work to fix the problems.

What really concerns me is that in all the hoopla about the website’s technical problems, the fact that people like me finally have a chance to get good health insurance at a reasonable rate has been totally lost.

I believe that once the technical issues with Healthcare.gov are solved, most people will be happy with their experience.

For those who have yet to log in and are feeling frustrated, I urge you not to give up. If you get stuck, call 1-800-318-2596 24/7 for help.

You can also take time now to explore your options before you enroll.

Don’t dismiss this opportunity to get the health coverage you need.

(Deborah Lielasus lives in Portsmouth.)

Legacy Comments37

The tax implications for those who work and pay for their insurance will not be realized until after next years elections. My employer has confirmed our plan will be considered at Cadillac plan subject to taxation for both me and my employer. The city government of Manchester will realize an additional three million dollars in tax liability per year for under the ACA ,plus each employees additional tax burden, this should help the economy. It would be interesting to know what the state government and the city of concord additional tax burden is going to be? But it's all worth it so those who contribute nothing can get more for nothing. On the other hand maybe we can use some of the money we were going to spend bombing Syria towards healthcare.

Why should anyone be taxed if they have a better health plan.......why should people who contribute nothing, get anything.

I read this letter a couple times and don't see the word subsidy anywhere. She gets a tax credit which is different. When we fill out our taxes we all get tax credits, for mortgages, for children all kinds of loopholes. Romney and his ilk get tax shelters and credits and hide their money in the Cayman Islands and it doesn't seem to bother any right wingers. Why is that? Why do you love the rich so much even though they don't pay their fair share and hate the lower working and middle class? Is it contempt because someday you all want to be one of them? Or is Issa and Sail and GWTW and the rest secretly billionaires with nothing else to do but write letters on the Monitor web site?

Well if Romney (or Obama) spend or save their money the way that they want to, far be it from me to be concerned. You figured it out, we are all billionaires (shhhhh) and we all have nothing else to do but write letter to the Monitor. Was it that obvious. Sincerely "Issa"

See Itsa, you read something but don't really comprehend it. Obama wasn't mentioned, but somehow he has to be brought into every discussion. I don't care how Romney spends his money, He can have 50 houses if he wants. One in each state. But I don't like how he hides his money overseas so he doesn't have to pay taxes. I asked the question, "are you all billionaires?" Didn't say you were, but you definitely have a contempt for people that don't make the money you do.

No, I make less than many people posting here but what I have contempt for are people relying on others with their palms up and hands out. If you can prove that Romney hides his money, call the IRS, they will act if you have proof.

Simply mind boggling, wow. For YEARS we have all openly been getting told that health insurance cost from each and everyone of us goes in part to pay for the uninsured. Hospital administrations, health insurance providers, and health care providers all, unanimously, have been telling us this. For a long, long time. Demonstrated here in these comments is at least 2 of you arch conservative, anti-Democrat-forever GOP pundits just now starting to figure out that your health insurance premiums also pay for the uninsured. Incredible demonstration of your superior knowledge and awareness all things health care. Thank you for the good laughs on a cold November morning.

If that is the truth, which I believe that we do pay but it is a canard that we pay anyway so this plan is better, then why are my premiums and the premiums of other working people going through the roof with Obamacare? It appears as if the emergency rooms are cheaper.

Something does not add up here. From the NY Times: "To get a subsidy, a couple's modified adjusted gross income for 2014 income would need to fall below $62,040, which is 400 percent of poverty for a family of two". Now unless a husband is not working at all and a wife is working part time, I can't see how a subsidy could be applied in the case above. I did some research and if a husband is self employed in his field, maybe this year will be subsidized but not future years if they earn more money. A subsidy makes no sense. Based on resume's posted online I can't see this as being a subsidy case.

Seems obvious to me. You think you know how much this couple makes, but clearly you don't. You're basing your opinion on sketchy assumptions that probably have nothing to do with reality. If you're actually trying to accuse the writer of lying, then why don't you just come out and say so?

I guess that if you choose to be self employed, you also make the conscious decision to take responsibility for your own healthcare. If you have worked 17 years in the same field and only bring home $62,000 it seems to me that you make better choices to take a job with insurance or do more grant writing. I find it very hard to believe that the combined income of a grant writer and systems analyst is less than $62,000. The only way to get that discount is to earn less than that. I am saying that it does not add up. But say a person made a conscious decision to quit their job knowing that health care would be there for them and it would be cheaper....now that would be unethical, wouldn't it?

You are assuming that high paying jobs are out there and that there is one for everyone who wants one. Where are these jobs ? How come there are not companies screaming to fill millions of these high paying jobs?

say-what, grant writers average $96 per hour. Looking at online resumes, it is impossible for a person who is self employed as a grant writer to make less than $62,000 per year unless they are just working part time, in which case I don't feel like subsidizing them. A couple who are a grant writer and systems analyst are not making less than $62,000 unless they are trying not to make a living.

Reading these comments, I really have to say that the fact that people are getting health insurance seems to sending some of you over the edge. All insurance is a pool of risk. Everyone subsidizes someone else Don't you people realize that we are subsidizing all the millions of people without health insurance now? Who do you think is paying for their medical care and when they go to the emergency room.? Take a deep breath and chill out.

If that is true, that we are subsidizing people without health insurance now, then why are all of our rates going up and why are so many people losing their insurance. Beyond that, the people in question earn big money compared to those subsidizing them.....no fairness. If the emergency room costs so much, why are other premiums going up????? Why are we paying more???? Stop telling hard working families to "chill out".

The question never asked is why does emergency room care cost so much. Here is a solution - we create 1 govt run and managed hospital in each area and make all uninsured go there for care. Liberals will tell ya ....It Works for the VA

Your rates have been increasing for years at a much faster pace to pay for all of these uninsured/underinsured people. The ACA is designed to slow those increases down by making people pay for at least part of their care.

And making people who have for decades, taken care of their own insurance pay to subsidize folks like the columnist.

The emergency room argument is a moot one. Sorry, if that were the case that "we are all paying for those people" then Obamacare would not find people's premiums, deductibles, etc. going up.

Well if people are getting a "good deal" as the columnist suggests, they are paying less of a part of their healthcare. Someone has to make that up, that means those of us with insurance that we have coveted for many years. All of a sudden we have to suffer and pay more so that people we don't even know can pay less and get a good deal? That is Socialism, pure and simple. Moreover, the casual "oh goodie for me" attitude of many posters here is really tasteless. As if you and I or the next person owes them healthcare.

So we are subsidizing them either way then???

Wrong as usual Tillie. We are just sick and tired of the fraud perpetrated on us by the most corrupt and the worst president ever -Barack Hussein Obama and his minions in the liberal press. If you choose to be be a dupe that is your choice.

Van , you know you and Sail write the same thing over and over. You sound like programed robots and never really address the subject.at hand. Actually you are both boring to read.

Tillie also wants her car insurance to cover wipers and oil changes

Could at least one of the takers at least say thank you, instead of gloating in having beat the system, at my expense?

Journalist throughout the nation are reporting the real story of NObamaKare - for this rag to use valuable print space again shows it is a shill for the left

I read an article on Seacoast Online from October 2nd, 2013 on Lielasus and it should be noted that until recently, her husband was employed and his Cobra is running out, which I believe, runs a year. Although I can understand that Lielasus would be thrilled about saving $500, she is self employed. $1400 per month for a self employed individual is a steal compared with what many self employed folks pay. That, coupled with at pre-existing condition makes it even more of a bargain. What is not considered in the total equation of things is the means testing of people whom others will subsidize. If a couple makes, for instance, $125,000+ per year as self employed individuals, should the person earning $75,000 be taking a hit with their insurance increasing? This is the primary flaw of Obamacare. Means testing is very important. Obamacare should be about affordable care but it should also not be about subsidizing people who can afford more on the backs of others who can afford less.

COBRA lasts for 18 months and you get it when you lose your job. Not when you are employed. Coverage for pre existing conditions is one of the things that makes the ACA a good thing for people who are now paying a premium price for insurance (if they can get it) that still does not cover their condition.

Yes, it is 18 months and you get it but pay for it when you lose your job. I resent the fact that two self employed people earning more than $150,000 will get a subsidy on the backs of people earning less. Progressives rail against that constantly in reverse but now that it benefits them, it is OK. A grant writer and a systems analyst self employed make much more than if they worked for employers. $1400 per month was reduced to $800, so many of us will pay more so that these "haves" will get a break. Means testing is the ONLY way that Obamacare would be fair. It may be a good thing for some people with pre-existing conditions BUT not at the expense of the rest of us earning less.

Kind of a double standard isn't it when you complain that someone gets a subsidy for health insurance based on after tax income but your OK with the 1% paying no taxes for using the same deductions.

No say-what, it is called taking responsibility for yourself.

Lielasus, 54, of Portsmouth, New Hampshire. is a grant writer whose obtained grants for clients, including recent grants from the HHS, (Conflict of interest) DOJ and HUD among others. Turns out that the website wasn’t quite as easy for Lielasus as she portrayed it in the ad. In fact, according to Lielasus’s interview with the AP back on October 2, she only got as far as creating an account before the website stopped working. Of course, the ad makes no mention of this. In addition to talking about how easy the site was to use, Lielasus also notes in the ad that her premiums and deductible will be lower under Obamacare than what she had been paying. What is not mentioned is that Lielasus is not the usual consumer. Lielasus has a significant pre-existing condition. According to Seacoast Online: Lielasus, 54, currently spends about $8,500 a year in premiums and more than $10,000 for out-of-pocket expenses because she has a health condition and her only option has been the state’s high-risk insurance pool.

I am so happy for you that you have prospered in the brave new world of redistribution economy. I am especially proud that my wife and I will be able to share our overtime earnings to fund your dream life of taking more than you give. What a grand thing to work just enough to survive and yet reaping the rewards of the labor of others. While my wife and I are working into the night plus some weekends to support your lifestyle, do you think you could spare a few minutes from your leisure to drop by and mow my lawn while I am proudly doing my part to share the fruits of my labor with you? I hope you put that new-found $530 a month which I am funding you into a savings account for which you and your spouse may take a nice vacation in the Caribbean next winter. I am certainly glad to be rid of that extra cash as Agent Robin Hood of the IRS might have shown up at my door with his SWAT team and gotten rough on me.

Excellent post MichaelKelly! Want to learn more about this ObamaKare Lackey: Read this: http://weaselzippers.us/2013/10/21/new-obamacare-ad-deceptive-the-site-was-very-easy-to-use-until-it-wasnt/

Van, this is from eHow: "Many grant writers are self-employed freelancers who contract with nonprofit organizations on an ad hoc or retainer basis. These individuals charge either by the project or by the hour. Hourly fees for freelance grant writers average $96" Read more: http://www.ehow.com/about_4688774_salary-grant-writer.html#ixzz2jas4I65q Van, my insurance next year will be $5500, I make nowhere near $96 per hour, you?????

I make No Ways near $96/Hour. It is amazing what people living off the taxpayer make. Maybe there should be a huge government analysis on who is making what off the government and that includes Military contractors.

Mr. Kelly, outstanding post and exactly how half of the people pulling the cart feel. Well said!

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