This is the second article of an ongoing series illustrating how Obamacare is helping people in the NY 23rd. Unlike the first article, these one shows how Obamacare indirectly helped a small business and an individual family.
Rep. Tom Reed had a Town Hall Meeting at the Jerusalem Town Hall (Yates County) on December 18. A statement about Obamacare was chosen from questions from audience by Rep. Reed’s sidekick, Joe. The statement wasn’t positive and our congressman tended to agree with the statement. The person who wrote the statement informed the group that the policy for his wife and himself was cancelled. They can not find a policy with the coverage they need for a decent price.
Art Hunt, owner of Hunt’s Country Vineyards (and Winery) spoke up and told his story about finding Health Coverage for his 8 to 10 employees. I asked him for permission to retell his story, and here is the email he sent back to me:
“Rich, You are welcome to repeat our experience going through the uncertainty of the year end transition to the ACA.
Since New York decided to create its own program, we went to two informational meetings to try to understand what would be happening and what we needed to do to comply with whatever new rules and regulations were now in effect. Most of all we were concerned about how we could assure those of our employees, who were on our company policy and to whom health care is vital, that they would continue to be covered.
I went on the website www.NYstateofhealth and read their information. It showed that there were only two companies that offered coverage in Yates County. Many people told us they preferred Excellus since it was accepted by virtually every provider in the area. I copied down the rates for each level of care and for single, couple and family policies. Meanwhile, we received a letter from Excellus, our current provider, that they had decided to lower premiums for 2014 while offering a continued high level of coverage. This level is more inclusive than the highest (Platinum) level offered by New York State. The rates were virtually the same as the Platinum rate offered by the government. We were able to stay with our old provider, and not worry about switching companies or programs. The cost of the coverage is expensive, but the rate actually decreased about 13% for single policies and about 9% for couples and families.
We’re taking this program one year at a time, but so far we are satisfied with the situation.”
A retired gentleman in the crowd told a similar story, but his policy covered his wife and himself, not a small business. He explained that they had seen their rates increase by about $800/year for the past few years. Even though they did not qualify for a government subsidy, they saved $300 per month on health insurance by signing up for a nearly equivalent health plan provided by the Affordable Care Act. The meeting with the “navigator” took about 20 minutes.
Although neither are now getting their health insurance through the Affordable Care Act, it is because of the ACA that Excellus reduced their rates, and both are pleased with their coverage.
How did Rep. Reed react to their Obamacare stories? He politely trivialized their accounts by saying “You guys are the exception of what I am hearing in my office.” He continued comparing Obamacare to ‘Train Wrecks” and kept repeating his unwavering talking points.