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Family says Obamacare meant choosing between "bad, really bad and really bad bad" plans

The Davert family.
Taylor'd Photography/Courtesy of Melissa Davert
The Davert family.

All this week on Stateside, we look at how the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, will affect Michigan residents, hospitals and governments.

The future of the Affordable Care Act is in doubt. President-elect Donald Trump wants to scrap it and replace it, and the Republican majority in Congress is on board with that idea.

According to government figures, nationwide, since the Affordable Care Act’s coverage expansion began, about 20 million uninsured people have gained health insurance coverage. Census data show that the uninsured rate in Michigan in 2015 was cut in half. It’s now at 6.1%, down from 12.4% uninsured in 2010.

But, there are problems. Some families are worse off.

Melissa Davert and her two children have a disability called Osteogenesis Imperfecta. It’s a brittle bone condition that causes broken bones, which sometimes require surgery to repair. It means more frequent hospital visits and routine doctor’s appointments.

Before the ACA, Melissa Davert and her family had the kind of insurance coverage they needed. After the ACA went into effect, the Daverts could not find the same coverage and anything that met their needs was much more expensive.

The insurance plan the family had originally was canceled due to ACA regulations, Davert said.

“We were surprised,” she said, “because we were under the understanding that if you liked your plan, you could keep your plan.”

The original plan had an out-of-pocket maximum of $2,500 for both of her children combined. After the ACA, the best new plan the family could find had an out-of-pocket maximum of $5,100 per child. That’s almost four times what they were paying before.

“A lot of the policies that came out after the Affordable Care Act had lower premiums, but the benefits were not good if you had to use the insurance,” she said.

For the full conversation, including why the family has had to search for a new plan almost every year since the Affordable Care Act went into effect, listen above.

Editor’s note: During her interview, Davert said that in order to qualify for Medicaid, her children would need to spend down their savings so that they have less than $2,000 in assets. While this was a requirement under the old Medicaid rules, it was removed by the Affordable Care Act. There is no longer an asset-test for Medicaid eligibility.

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