Obamacare enrollee takes out 2nd mortgage to cover cost of his plan

Dr. Scott Gottlieb of the American Enterprise Institute has a piece at Forbes today titled, “A Personal Tale Of ObamaCare Woe: One Patient’s Story.” Gottlieb tells the story of “John” (not his real name) who went from getting a pretty good deal under Obamacare to having to take out a 2nd mortgage to cover a plan with a high deductible:

John changed jobs in 2014, and his new employer–a small business–didn’t offer coverage at work. In 2015 he qualified for a tax credit to purchase coverage on his state’s exchange for himself, his wife and his college-aged daughter.

With the tax credit, his monthly health premiums were under $300. When his daughter graduated college and got a job in late August, things quickly changed…

Their insurance premiums rose from under $300 a month for their three-person household that included their daughter in 2015, to more than $600 a month for a plan covering just the two of them in 2016. This was for a purportedly low-cost “silver” insurance plan that carried a deductible of close to $12,000 a year.

That would have been bad enough but Gottlieb goes on to explain that, because of a bonus he received, John’s income rose above the level that was eligible for subsidies. The IRS demanded John payback the subsidies he had already received which amounted to $6,900 hit on his taxes. In order to pay back what he owed John took out a 2nd mortgage on his home.

As Obamacare supporters would tell it, John is one of Obamcare’s success stories, i.e. he’s one of the millions of people now getting “high-quality, affordable” insurance on the exchange. But it’s doubtful that John would see it that way. Maybe initially he would have but once he was taking out a new mortgage to cover the cost of his mandatory insurance plan with $12,000 deductible, I sort of doubt it.

There are certainly plenty of people near to bottom of the income scale who are getting a bargain thanks to government subsidies that pay most of the cost for them, but many of the people buying these plans are not getting that bargain.