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Obamacare Clusterfuck: Tips for People Who Have Had to Drop Medical (Not Health) Insurance Because of "Obamaffordability"

Welp, today I dropped my medical (not health) insurance, effective January 1, 2014. Due to "Obamaffordability" I can no longer justify the cost.

Just as Lambert is new to the whole insurance thing, I'm new to the whole un-insurance thing. Prior to now, I have had medical insurance non-stop for the last 20 years, ~12 of those years on the individual market.

So I figured this could be an open thread for people in like situations or otherwise "running naked" pertaining to insurance, for sharing "alternatives" to medical insurance?

One option that I found locally is that one of our rural hospitals offers a program wherein you can pay $30/month per person and get primary care covered with a tiny co-pay..

If you know of similar strategies for fellow Correnteans suffering from "Obamaffordability" like I am, please share in comments. It doesn't matter where you're located. If your area has a creative program, knowing about it might lead to finding similar programs in other regions of the country.

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Alexa's picture
Submitted by Alexa on

for all but about 1-1/2 years, don't know a lot about this.

But, I would recommend checking out "medical tourism" for MAJOR medical expenses--information is readily available online. (We are currently attempting to get authorized for a very major surgery outside of the US, even with health care coverage.)

Five years ago, when I was bitten by a dog, went to our County Health Department for a Tentanus shot.

Pretty nice facility, actually. And as of one year ago, a brand new one has been built. I believe that they do a good bit more than "giving vaccinations." For basic care, that might be a start. Community Health Center fees are usually charged on a sliding-scale, I believe.

We have a two-year-old VA Community Health Center, as well. So any "vets" may want to check into their availability (if any) to use VA facilities.

I look forward to seeing how innovative people can be when faced with this difficult circumstance. Good luck!

Oh, and there are "drug discount cards" online, and many in-house drug discount programs.

We use Walgreen's "W Card" for the hound (and us). Has saved us a ton of money over the past seven years!

Submitted by Dromaius on


We have the prescription drug discount at Costco for the hound, and starting in 2014, for us.

I am hoping that no major medical issues arise, although I'm thinking some dental tourism might be in my future. Which country are you considering for your medical tourism and how did you choose it?

Alexa's picture
Submitted by Alexa on

that you guys would probably have--assuming that you are totally financing the dental/medical tourism.

What we've done is submit a request for a "exception" to our group health plan that would allow us to pursue medical care in another country, paid for by our group health plan.

Obviously, the medical facility or physician(s) will not be left up to us, as it would probably be in your case. If Mr A's insurer were to approve our request, they would contract for the surgery. [Which will have to remain nameless, since Mr A doesn't particularly want his medical history broadcast all over "the internets."]

Our request will be the first of its kind approved--if it is. But it's worth a try. What have we got to lose?

And the request can be resubmitted for consideration (since the approving "authority" rotates, from what I understand).

We first compiled a list of several countries (came up with it by searching the World Health Organization, Kaiser, Forbes and other business and investor mags, and general searches of Medical Tourism by both country and medical procedure, even sought opinions, considered with a grain of salt, though, from expat forums, etc.) then asked the insurer how we could petition them with this request.

Since the insurer would never allow "us" to select or make any contractual arrangements with potential providers, we're simply hoping that we can make the case based upon the "cost savings" to be gained by his company.

At any rate, recently two couples that we're pretty close with returned from South America, having visited several countries.

As a result of their recent experiences, we've changed our preferences to only two.

We "hope" that we can travel to either Ecuador or Argentina for the surgery.

If we are turned down, then we'll have a real chore on our hands, I suppose. We might consider going through a medical tourism company (although it would not be optimal, due to the added expense). We'll just wait and see what happens, first.

I did hear a horror story about the same surgery in one of the smaller, but popular, towns in Ecuador--so we definitely prefer to stick with Quito or Guayaquil in Ecuador, or Buenos Aires in Argentina.

After this week, we'll wish that we'd sought out dental tourism, LOL!

From all that I've heard and read--you won't need to go farther than Mexico for a real decent dental tourism experience.

If they recommend anymore dental work (I'm postponing mine for 3 months, as it is)--we may see you guys down there!


Submitted by Dromaius on

Ha-ha-ha, a combination dental tourism and Corrente meetup in Mexico. I can see it becoming a yearly event!

An aunt and uncle spend 6 months in Mexico every year and probably have dental tourism connections!

Very interesting info. Thank you.

Alexa's picture
Submitted by Alexa on

I'm sure your relatives do have connections. You would do well to go there, I would think.

Back to an earlier comment of yours, I wish that we could shop at a Costco--haven't lived near one since Alaska.

We have a Sam's--but not one with a pharmacy. So our options are either hoping to get a discount at one of the major pharmacy chains--or going online.

Just checked with Walgreen's today on one of Bailey's meds that we've talked about--still hovering at just under $3,000 for a 90-day supply (for the 25 mg capsules). Told the vet tech not to waste her time checking the alternate dosage.

Can't imagine why this very old Tricyclic is now worth more than gold, LOL!

And my last refill in July was $30 for 90 days.

This is pure madness!

Submitted by Dromaius on

I just had my prescription refilled last night. The price tripled. I'm going to blame the Obamacare goldrush among pharma co's.

I hope Bailey's new med works as well as the old med. The good thing is that his old med was the one marketed for dogs. It's very possible that either of the drugs works as well and even that the new med is better! The marketing distorts things, makes vets choose one drug over another

No Costco? I can't even begin to imagine where you live. Is your name really Gilligan? If so, say hi to the Professor and Mary Ann. But of course, I lead a sheltered life when it comes to Costco, since I live about 15 minutes from their corporate headquarters.

Alexa's picture
Submitted by Alexa on

I could be wrong, but I'm under the impression that Costco's are a bit more sparse along some of the Southern and Eastern tier states.

Probably because Wal-Mart and Sam's (all out of Bentonville, AR, I believe) dominate this part of the country.

We shop as little as possible at Wally World and Sam's (although it's easier to find comparable stores to Wal-Mart, than to Sam's, since we have no Costco).

Seattle's a real nice city, from what I recall. We've never spent any extensive time there--just passed through it several times coming and going to Alaska (seems like we spent a night in a hotel, maybe). We ferried down the last time, so it's been years. I'm sure Seattle wouldn't much resemble what I remember. I know that one of my old stomping grounds--Atlanta--was unrecognizable by the time we got back to the Lower 48.

When we traveled in nice weather, we often camped out a Travel Trailer Parks, since part of what we loved about Alaska was hiking, camping and photographing wildlife (Mr A), and we had three dogs in tow, and we didn't have to worry about being turned down "for pets." We had a small RV, but usually just rigged up a decent (slight high-rise) camper shell--complete with a decent mattress and a few amenities--so that it was not a bad deal if we stayed in a RV Trailer Park (with other necessary amenities) in the evenings.

And the dogs loved it--thought it was playtime!

Submitted by Dromaius on

Sounds awesome! except for grizzly bear concerns.

I figured Darla would go crazy if we took her camping..and then we did and she was a perfect camper! She knew when to get crazy and when to hang out on her pillow and chill. And I was shocked that she would sleep while we would tear down camp. Our other dog would have been anxious that we would leave him. But Darla knows that she is the center of the universe and our life would cease to exist as we know it without her ;-) so she knows we wouldn't leave her behind..

I don't live in Seattle, thank Gawd, but in much quieter suburbia.

Alexa's picture
Submitted by Alexa on

It would be interesting to us not only from the medical tourism angle, but since we will be retiring to SA.

Perfect to "blog about," I would think!

jo6pac's picture
Submitted by jo6pac on

be get a group deal if enough of us showed up;)

Submitted by flora on

Interesting NewsHour segment on generic drugs and their wildly differing prices from one store to the next.
worthwhile to watch or read the whole transcript here:

abreviated transcript:

"MEGAN THOMPSON: Lisa Gill is the editor for prescription drug coverage at Consumer Reports. Last spring she led a survey of more than 200 pharmacies around the country asking the retail prices of five blockbuster drugs that had recently gone generic.

The study found the cost of a month’s supply of generic Plavix, a blood thinner, ranged from $15 at Costco and $12 at an online store …all the way up to 10 to 15 times more at Target and CVS. It was similar for generic Lipitor, used to control cholesterol. Prices ranged from 15 to 17 dollars, up to around 9 times higher at other national chains.

LISA GILL: It was unprecedented for us. We had never found this kind of variation in a drug pricing study before.

MEGAN THOMPSON: Gill says while many stores offer older, more common generic drugs for just a few dollars… it’s the prices for some newer generics that vary so much. And, Gill says, they discovered something else in their survey that surprised them.

LISA GILL: You actually can’t get the lowest price until you ask.

CAROL THOMPSON: Can you do any better on the price?

PHARMACIST: We certainly do price matches.

MEGAN THOMPSON: indeed, after my mom tried that strategy, target, which had one of the highest prices - $455 - said it would match the price at other pharmacies.


MEGAN THOMPSON: Gill says it’s rare for someone to even think of calling around like my mom did, since most consumers have no idea prices can vary so much. And that could lead to the uninsured or people with inadequate drug coverage overpaying by hundreds of dollars. Or skipping medications altogether...."

Alexa's picture
Submitted by Alexa on

You're right--it was very interesting.

And thanks for the link to Good RX link!

Alexa's picture
Submitted by Alexa on

I'm with Dromaius on this one--that ObamaCare will create the perfect "bubble" to allow for RX costs to skyrocket.

At the very least, it "gives cover" to pharma.