Washington health plan finder
Washington Healthplanfinder is like Hotel California: Hopkins was thrown on to Medicaid and left her no way to get off it.

This is a story my brother in law, Dr. Philip Henderson, warned you about before he became so distraught about ObamaCare wiping out his Longview, Washington medical practice that he killed himself. The dirty little secret of ObamaCare is a possible 200,000 more Washingtonians could be herded into Medicaid, known as Washington Apple Health. It means those thousands of people pouring into the program will be treated by the same number or, more likely, shrinking number of doctors taking Medicaid patients. You’ll have insurance, but you’ll have a heckuva time finding a doctor. 

In the Wall Street Journal this morning, Nicole Hopkins, a New York woman, writes about her 52 year old mom in Pierce County, Washington who has been paying for her individual insurance plan for years after leaving her real estate business.

Unable to secure employer-sponsored health care, she had, until this fall, chosen to pay $276 a month for bare-bones catastrophic coverage. “I think that we should be able to take care of ourselves and to earn enough money to pay for basics, and health insurance is one of them.” 

Mom, Charlene Hopkins,  finally got “the letter” telling her, because of ObamaCare, her insurance was no longer available. 

The situation sounded absurd, so I asked her to walk me through her application on Washington Healthplanfinder to make sure she wasn’t missing anything. Sitting in New York with my computer, I logged onto the site under her name and entered the information my mother provided over the phone.

[H]er “Eligibility Results” came back: “Congratulations, we received and reviewed your application and determined [you] will receive the health care coverage listed below: Washington Apple Health. You will receive a letter telling you which managed care plan you are enrolled with.”

The page lacked a cancel button or any way to opt out of Medicaid. It was done; she was enrolled, and there was nothing to do but click “Next” and then to sign out.

Some people may think this is a huge victory. Hopkins thinks the government sold out her dignity and stole her insurance from her. The saying goes, “a government big enough to give you everything you want is big enough to take everything you have.” And now it has taken her dignity,

“I just don’t expect anything positive out of getting free health care,” she said. “I don’t see why other people should have to pay for my care, whether it be through taxes or otherwise.” In paying for health insurance herself—she won’t accept help from her family, either—she was safeguarding her dignity and independence and her sense of being a fully functioning member of society. 

4 Responses

  1. Forced into a system with a shrinking(?) number of doctors accepting Medicaid? When I paid for my daughters’ catastrophic health insurance, she had no – zero – access to any primary care doctor without paying for the office visit. I sincerely doubt Ms Hopkins had any access to any primary care doctor with her ‘bare bones’ health coverage. Under MedicAid she will have access to, at least some, primary care doctors without out of pocket expense – just how is worse from her pre ACA experience? She is still free to pay a nonparticipating doctor for her primary care and any catastrophic treatment will be Medicaid covered (just as any uncovered expense would have been with her ‘bare bones’ coverage). I’m sure she can voluntarily send the money she was paying for health insurance to the federal or state government to regain her sense of paying her own way!

    1. Well how nice of you to determine what she should do with her health care and her own money. Now she’s using yours, of course. What an improvement! Not.

      1. I didn’t determine what she should/could do with her health care or her money. I merely pointed out that what she was, allegedly, doing with her health care BEFORE ACA was, in all probability, not significantly different from what she would experience under ACA Medicaid …. If you read the entire WSJ op-ed, the author stated her mother was ‘made dependent’ by being offered/given/”forced into” WA states’ Medicaid program – I merely suggested that if Ms Hopkins felt she had been “turned into” a ‘taker’ she could transfer the amount of her prior insurance payment to the government to ‘pay’ her way … Determining what she should do with her health care and money? NOT!!!

    2. “I merely pointed out that what she was, allegedly, doing with her health care BEFORE ACA was, in all probability, not significantly different from what she would experience under ACA Medicaid ….”

      You are simply parroting the Presidents other lie. Equivalent or better quality insurance? Is she better off? Really????

      And how has the mandate and intrusion of government made her and millions losing their existing coverage better off, not to mention lived up to it’s sponsors promises?

      Promises now dismissed —You can keep your insurance; you can keep your doctor. She didn’t; I didn’t and still to come millions more covered under group policies through their employers who won’t.

      Better or equivalent quality? And what is available coverage and the reimbursement level under ACA? I suspect she is now covered for maternity, drug care. Wow at 52, I bet she is really relieved! And no doubt we will all probably need expanded “soma” coverage with this monstrosity.

      Better quality at lower cost? Even CNN has highlighted low reimbursement levels under ACA.

      “Many Americans browsing the Obamacare exchanges are finding the Affordable Care Act isn’t living up to its name.

      It’s not just premiums that are bringing up the costs. Consumers are finding high deductibles, co-payments and other expenses that make the Obamacare policies seem more like catastrophic plans than comprehensive insurance.” http://money.cnn.com/2013/11/21/news/economy/obamacare-affordable/index.html

      And Forbes before,

      “Here in a nutshell is the problem. The minimum actuarial value established by Obamacare was 60%: that is, plans must cover 60% of covered expenses for a typical plan member, leaving the rest to be paid out of pocket. Yet in 2009, the average actuarial value for a typical employer-based HMO was 93%, while that for a typical employer-based PPO was 80-84%.” http://www.forbes.com/sites/theapothecary/2013/10/30/no-david-axelrod-the-vast-majority-of-people-in-this-country-are-not-keeping-their-plan/

      And also US News and World Report reporting of 2009 – 2010 outlining why insurers like United Health were supporting Obamacare.

      And your final argument that she can go to a non participating doctor is a rather cynical and sham argument because it will still likely elevate her cost and the ultimate cost, though cloaked through state and federal government subsidy, at others expense as well. And existing and timely treatment options covered will likely diminish. Costs are elevated whether in actual cost of service provided or loss of service to obtain previously covered treatment in timely fashion.

      Elevated cost was something she as well as millions of others were also promised wouldn’t happen!! Your response ignores the broken promises, higher ultimate cost and involuntary nature of this abomination.