Dianne Barrette became the perfect pawn for the GOP and conservative media when she told her “victim” story about Obamacare to Jan Crawford of “CBS This Morning.” She received calls from not one but THREE Fox News shows and an interview with Greta Van Susteren. From Real Clear Politics on October 28, 2013 (yeah, a week ago):
56-year-old Dianne Barrette. Last month, she received a letter from Blue Cross Blue Shield informing her as of January 2014, she would lose her current plan. Barrette pays $54 a month. The new plan she’s being offered would run $591 a month — 10 times more than what she currently pays.
She was happy with her plan, she said:
What I have right now is what I am happy with and I just want to know why I can’t keep what I have. Why do I have to be forced into something else?
And what was it she was happy with? Before Obamacare, she had enjoyed a plan that cost her $54 per month — a bargain indeed. Her bargain basement plan was cancelled due to being too low-standard for the requirements of Obamacare. Her insurance company offered alternate plans, but they would have cost 10 times as much as the plan that she was losing.
In the CBS interview, host Jan Crawford pointed out that Barrette may qualify for subsidies. But this confused Barrette. She said she couldn’t see what the subsidies were because she couldn’t log into the website. Want to watch the whole interview? Here’s the video:
Now, however, Johathan Cohn of New Republic is reporting that Barrette is singing a different tune. After having her situation analyzed by the likes of Mediaite, the Los Angeles Times, American Prospect, and even Greta Van Susteren herself, Barrette realized that her plan didn’t even cover hospitalization. As for what she can get with Obamacare, here is what Cohn has to say:
Using plan data provided to me by the Kaiser Family Foundation, residents of Polk County, Florida have dozens of insurance options from which to choose. The cheapest option for somebody of Barrette’s age has premiums of $440 a month, the most expensive goes for $914 a month. But Barrette wouldn’t pay those prices. Obamacare offers tax credits to people with incomes of up to four times the poverty line, or about $45,000 for an individual. Given Barrette’s income, she’ll be getting a tax credit worth nearly $331 a month, according to the Kaiser Foundation’s subsidy calculator. And that tax credit works like a discount, upfront. To figure out what she’d pay, you subtract the value of the tax credit from the price of the plan. Accounting for that discount, it looks like the cheapest plan available her would cost about $100 a month—in other words, about $50 a month more than Barrette pays now.
With this plan, Barrette would have free wellness visits, but a high deductible, with the maximum out of pocket being $6,250. This is already better than what she previously had, but she has even better options, and can end up with a very good insurance plan that will cost her about $150 per month.
When Cohn explained her options to her, Barrette’s response was positive and refreshing:
I would jump at it. With my age, things can happen. I don’t want to have bills that could make me bankrupt. I don’t want to lose my house.
While she can’t be certain until she sees the numbers for herself and get insurance, she already knows what the rest of us know – that Obamacare is a good thing. She told Cohn:
Maybe it’s a blessing in disguise.
Read Cohn’s entire article at New Republic.