How I Afford the ACA

I hate the word "Obamacare". I'm not even sure if that's strong enough. Is "loathe" better? It seems to me that everything that is wrong with this country, people stick the president's name on it and it becomes a profanity. I never thought I'd say I hated something more than people saying "two thousand fourteen" instead of "twenty fourteen", but choosing to say "Obamacare" over "ACA" is definitely worse.

At any rate, let me be clear in saying that I have no horse in this race. After arriving in Ireland sick as anything on what was supposed to be a magical time as an exchange student, I hardly hate the idea of universal healthcare. But I can't afford care on the exchange, because $168 is way too expensive for someone who has worked in retail her entire adult life. (I dumped my smartphone in December because I couldn't afford the $85/month…that's what kind of budget I'm on.) But–lo and behold–the Michigan legislature agreed on Medicaid expansion. Now that doesn't mean everyone gets real Medicaid (same as before), but it does mean that those that don't quite qualify still get a great package.

From February 1, 2012 up 'til now, I've been in the hands of the county. Don't get me wrong…my doctor and the health department staff have been very nice, learning my name immediately and responding within twenty-four hours. And last April, I was "promoted" to the Adult Medical Plan, which covered a little bit more than the original plan I was on.

But it is called the Barry-Eaton Health Department for a reason. I think Dr. K was available two days a week when I started out, but I think they must have changed schedules at some point, because suddenly, I could only see her on Thursdays.

That's right. One. Day. A. Week.

Now that doesn't mean I couldn't be seen by one of the other doctors if I had a minor emergency (like really needing a tetanus shot after hurting myself a couple of summers ago), but otherwise, forget it. I had better hope that I had nothing planned on Thursday, because that's the only way I could see the doctor.

Starting April 1, I will be able to go from saying, "I kind of have insurance" to "No…really. I have insurance!"

Those who were on AMP (or plan B) are starting into something called "Healthy Michigan". It's not-quite-Medicaid 2.0, if you will. No more visiting the health department. (It's shutting down at the end of March, so they're loading us in to get our last refills before we all switch to other providers.) (Which means if I get sick between here and April, I'm going to urgent care, since it's free and easier to get into.) We can actually choose real insurance (Eaton County has McLaren, Meridian and Physician's Health Plan), go to regular doctors…even therapy, chiropractic, dental and vision are covered! It's amazing! (Hell, my dad doesn't even get chiro coverage and he's retired from GM!)

I'm so excited to have real insurance that I've already started making appointments for April, because all my old providers accept PHP FamilyCare! I'm seeing my primary care doctor on the 14th (that one was actually mandatory), I have a therapy appointment on the 15th (Tuesday at two, just like we've done for years!), chiro is a walk-in and I think I'm going to book my vision appointment tomorrow. The only thing that hasn't shaken out yet is dental…the HM people are still working on it. (I checked with my current dentist and they only accept PFC for children…but I'm hoping that will change.)


My bottom line? Bitch about the Affordable Care Act all you want, but leave me out of it. I haven't had coverage this good in over two years.

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