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Letter: Health care reform was supposed to help

I am writing about my concern with MNSure and Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as ObamaCare. I want everyone to see how it really affects the “little people” in this state. I have a rare genetic condition that causes me to need healthcare and chiropractic care frequently. This is a pre-existing condition so the cost of healthcare was not even feasible for my family. We are below 250 percent of the federal poverty level. Due to this we applied and were accepted into the state healthcare program called MinnesotaCare. We had very good coverage. Our premium was $226 a month with $3 co-pay for in-network providers and I got 12 chiropractic treatments a year covered plus an annual eye and dental exam. My policy would renew every six months.

It was not time to renew my policy yet but I received a letter in the mail stating that my insurance would end Jan. 1, 2014. Our family of four now made too much money to get MinnesotaCare. How is it that the healthcare reform that was supposed to help people like me is dropping me? So I went on MNSure to sign up for other insurance because I could not afford my bills otherwise.

Anyone who has done that has to know what an awful experience that is. My experience: I created an account. No plans showed up. Called and sat on hold forever and was told to wait two weeks. Did that. Couldn’t get logged back into my account. Called and sat on hold forever to get help and finally gave up and emailed them. Waited a month. No response. Sat down and somehow my password was changed. Fixed that. Finally logged in and the policies were shocking compared to my previous coverage.

Found the best plan they had but was terrible compared to MNCare. I couldn’t find out if I could keep my doctor. Called MNSure. Sat on hold so long I gave up. Looked up the insurance company’s number and called them. My doctor is covered but my chiropractor is not covered. He is the only one in the area that has been able to help with my condition. So now I’m out any chiropractic care too. Went online to enroll and found out that dental is not covered and there is a separate premium for dental. We cannot afford the new premium as is so we decided against dental but now the premium they had given me was almost double what it was the previous two times I had logged in!

I called to find out what was going on. Sat on hold almost four hours and the battery in my phone went dead. Still no help. Our highest medical expenses in a month before ObamaCare/MNSure were $301. Now it is $614 a month minimum!

We are not a rich family. We don’t have cable. We drive old cars. Our house is only 1,200 square feet. We use pre-paid cell phones. We aren’t living high on the hog. I don’t remember the last movie we even have gone too because it is too expensive. We were having a hard time making ends meet as it was and now this is thrown upon us?

I will have the choice to try and pay for something I cannot afford, pay a fine for not having it plus any medical expenses accrued, or skip all doctor appointments causing me to live in pain and hope none of my frequent infections cause a hospitalization.

Please people, if you are having the same issue as I am with healthcare reform let your elected officials know about it! I spoke with both the Governor’s office and the Speaker of the House’s office and both places thought that MNCare was extended to cover more people. If that was so how come I was dropped? They don’t even know what is going on and if you don’t tell them (because they don’t have to have MNSure) how are they going to know?

This is so important. Please stand up now before it is too late.

Brandi Petersen