The Market Place 2…

My saga with affordable care continues…

I tried a different tack the following day, I felt I had heard all there was to tell about the government pages for the moment and I wanted to  hear what the insurance company had to say.

I started with an insurance agent who specialised in Blue Cross Blue Shield.  He was quick and easy to contact, no massive call centers, plus he was my mother-in-law’s representative.

He told me the policy I had found on The Market Place was excellent.

In fact he said,

“I couldn’t do better for you!”

Next stop with my faithful phone, the insurance company itself.

Happily I had been de-sensitised to wait times on hold from my ordeal the previous day and the 15 minutes at BCBS flew by.

The operator knew what she was talking about because she had worked for the company for longer than a few months, she answered all my questions.

The bottom line was,

“If you go for a well check Ma’am, which is covered before deductible requirements are met, and your doctor diagnoses a medical illness, can you afford pay the deductible right off the bat?”

“Yes…” I said.

“Then once you’ve met your deductible the rest of the costs are covered 100% until the following year.”

Exactly how I had read the policy.  It was in essence a major medical policy at a fraction of the going rate  because of my tax credit.  Added to that Well Checks were covered immediately; without medical insurance this was not available.  I felt the policy I was looking at on The Market Place would meet my needs and my wallet wouldn’t complain too much.

Heartened by these exchanges which had taken all of an hour I steeled myself and called into The Market Place again.  I really didn’t want to sign up and enroll on line by myself incase I did something wrong.

I should have stayed on my computer!

Forty-five minutes later I was talking to another operator.  I asked him,

“When did you come on duty?”

“An hour ago Ma’am.”

This call centre is open 24/7 and I didn’t want a burned out operator, not first off!  He jumped straight in with that all important question,

“May I have your social please?”

We filled out my application, some of the fields were already “populated” my operator had such a way with words, and it dawned on me they did have a copy of my ‘removed’ applications from the day before.

I could feel the urge to slink away, but I persevered, I needed this coverage.

We completed the application and he gave me my account I.D. number then he enrolled me in the health insurance I had selected.

Apart from my personal information I only had one question to answer about my health,

“Do you smoke?”


He closed the conversation with instructions to call BCBS when I received an email from them outlining my coverage.  We were done!  Goodbye!

No physical exam.

No pages of medical history to respond to.

No pre-existing conditions to tap dance around.

No eligibility questions.

And who was going to be paying the shortfall on the difference between the actual cost of my policy and my reduced cost through the exchange?

We, the tax payers.

A few days later, as expected, I received my policy on-line spelling out my coverage.

In my P.O.Box I received my ID card and then an email requesting me to make contact before my coverage began.

A very efficient nurse fielded my call and asked a few more health related questions,

“Apart from religious ceremonies, have you inhaled smoke or tobacc products in the last 6 months?”


“How often have you visited an emergency room in the past year?”


“How many times have you been hospitalized in the lat six months?”


She advised me to use my primary care giver, ask for generic drug prescriptions and take advantage of my allowed annual well checks.

My bill arrived, I paid it and now I am happily insured.

Then I discovered a snag which had me second guessing what I had thought to be a great decision.

On the site I was told there was no record of my account.

Was this a problem?

Would it come back to haunt me when tax time rolled around next year?

How had BCBS received my request for health coverage?

I had no choice but to dial the, by now memorized, number into The Market Place.




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