Well, today was the day! I finally took time to try to get some health insurance. I used to have great insurance when I worked at a hedge fund in New York City, but after being shown the door, I got Medicaid because I was drawing unemployment. Today I have none.
I could have stayed in NY but decided to relocate back to my home state of Alabama to help my aging parents with their day-to-day activities as well as spend time with my dad for as long as I can.
Fast forward to after my move and I’m now in the doctor’s office. I’m still in-between jobs (the job market for a healthy guy with a Master’s degree is not so good here in rural AL) and want insurance so I apply for Medicaid but I don’t qualify. So I have to go to the exchange. The doctor hands me a card for Enroll Alabama. Feeling optimistic, I put off calling for a few weeks to focus on restoring my house and cleaning out a space for a studio. After being pestered by my parents I finally called the toll-free number and spoke to a representative. It was at this moment I found out that I have to make a minimum of $11K to qualify for…something, insurance? I can’t remember what the lady said. Anyway, she gave me another number to call and told me to speak to a lady named Porsche. I began imagining and elderly porn star answering my call. So I again focused on my house/studio. After more chiding from my family, I decide to call the next number. This time I talk to a guy and it sounds like he’s at a call center. He asked me many questions and mentioned the information I provided could and would be verified via other records before asking me if I accepted the terms. I said yes and waited to find out the enrollment period had closed. This didn’t surprise me. He further mentioned I wouldn’t be able to enroll until November. So I have no insurance until then. But, it’s OK! I was given an exemption number to apply to next years tax return so I will pay no penalty. Of course I will be keeping all of the receipts from my $90/month migraine medication.
Even though I presently don’t have coverage and see myself not penalized, I really like the ACA program. It seems very easy to navigate. Maybe I would still be insured if I had moved to a state which expanded Medicaid coverage. I don’t know but I believe I would.