My Family Lost Our Health Insurance and Can’t Sign Up for Obamacare
The Bush years were not kind to my family. Between 2000 and 2011, my parents went from earning high six-figures to roughly $50,000 a year at the Puppy Palace, the pet store my mom owns and my father manages in Hollywood, Florida. During this period, the store’s staff declined from 25 full-time employees to less than ten part-time employees and one full-time employee who received health care through her husband.
This happened as both my parents’ health declined. My mom battled lupus and recurring blood clots thanks to a mutated gene, which I inherited, and my father was diagnosed with pancreatitis in spring 2011, causing him to spend three months in a coma and die four times—he was magically resuscitated and now suffers from diabetes and a poor memory. Although we had insurance that covered my parents and four out of their five children, our medical bills skyrocketed over the past ten years—last month, the pet store paid over $3,000 to Aetna for my family’s insurance alone.
Because of this, my parents celebrated when Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law. They thought Obamacare would decrease our medical payments—Obama promised the bill would help small businesses—and my parents grew up in the British Commonwealth, where socialized medicine took care of everyone. My parents’ opinion changed on October 5, however, when the Puppy Palace received a letter from Aetna saying they were canceling the insurance policy we’ve had since January 2001 because of Obamacare.
“The Affordable Care Act is bringing more changes in 2014,” the letter said. “ACA requires us to make significant changes to our health benefits plan designs. We cannot renew your existing plan in 2014. We are replacing our entire small employer portfolio with new health benefit plans that comply with the 2014 ACA requirements. You will have many options available to meet your health benefits needs. Your existing coverage will continue until your policy period ends in 2014. At that time you can purchase any of these new 2014 policies.”