If your child has a health condition like diabetes, severe asthma, or autism, you’d better be working for a large employer. Until Obamacare, if you worked for yourself or a small business, your child could be denied health insurance. Because of the Affordable Care Act, children with pre-existing conditions have a right to health insurance.
Here is one example of a family that is very happy with Obamacare:
“Finally, we had the freedom to shop around for a plan that worked better for our family budget.” – Rabbi Ron F. of Norwalk, Connecticut
As a religious leader, my moral compass tells me that providing health care for every American is simply the right thing to do. But as a father, this is personal. My wife and I are blessed to have four healthy children, but even they are not exempt from the discriminatory practices of the health insurance industry.
My oldest son, Dore, was born with a cleft lip. Surgeons repaired it within months of his birth, and he hasn’t had any medical consequences from it. Still, when we shopped for insurance on the individual market, we found that many insurance companies had a blanket policy excluding any child who had had a surgery within the first two years of their life, regardless of the reason or type of surgery.
So in spite of premiums that rose as much as 20% every year, we were stuck with the same policy that we bought when Dore was born. Eventually, we were paying about $30,000 a year in premiums!
Then, Obamacare passed which outlawed pre-existing conditions exclusions for children that year. Finally, we had the freedom to shop around for a plan that worked better for our family budget. We eventually settled on a High Deductible Health Plan linked to a Health Savings Account. The deductible is about $5,000 a year. All told, we’re still probably paying about $20,000 a year, which is obviously better but not ideal.
In 2014, we’ll be shopping on a much more even playing field through the Exchange. Insurance companies doing business in the Exchange will have to offer us all of the same options that they would offer any other family, without pricing based on health. As a father, I am relieved that my children will always have the security of access to affordable health care as they grow into adulthood.
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