Risk of Opting Out
In response to Gambling On No Healthcare Insurance: Is it a Good Deal? Here’s the Math; Obamashock! Work More, Get Less! “Money Multiplier Man” replied…

If you get a heart attack, you cannot wait until open enrollment. You need treatment now. And the hospital will send you a bill for $92,000. So if you are without insurance, you’re in big trouble.

That is precisely the risk (actually one of them). Yet, how likely is that scenario for someone under 30 and in good health? For those in good health, an auto accident may be more likely. Still – accidents happen.

But for someone with little money or assets, why not take the chance? Bankruptcy is always an option.

Ultimately, this line of thinking may cause millions to opt out. And it is not just the young who will opt out.

Nearly Retired? Facing a Huge Increase in Healthcare Costs?

Reader Lynn faces that unwelcome prospect.

Her solution, yet one she really would prefer not to be forced to make, was to “opt out” and pay the penalty.

Lynne writes …

Hello Mish,

Your articles are always a well-written source of insight, wisdom and common sense for me. Thank you for providing excellent current event commentaries!

I am a 61 year old self-employed woman who received notice from Anthem Blue Cross on November 4th that my individual health insurance plan was being cancelled because of the “Affordable” Care Act. My health plan currently costs $225 per month and I am happy with it. The notice goes on to say that unless I elect something else by December 15, 2013 I will be automatically enrolled in a new ACA-compliant health plan at a cost of $530 per month, a 136% percent increase in premium. My annual health plan cost will increase from $2,700 to $6,360 for 2014.

The bottom line for me is a choice between reducing the amount of my retirement plan contributions by $3,660 per year or going without health insurance and paying the penalty. As a self-employed person who couldn’t afford to start saving for retirement until my mid-forties, I’m equally afraid of either choice.

In trying to understand what caused health insurance plans to skyrocket in cost, I found out that to be ACA-compliant they must now cover things like maternity care and pediatric dental — even if you’re a 61 year old empty nester!

After researching my state’s exchange web site it appears that I’m ineligible for any premium subsidies or cost-sharing assistance. My husband’s income (he’s on Medicare) must also be counted and our combined income is over the $62,040 threshold. And after speaking with my long-time insurance agent, there aren’t any other health insurance options available to me next year for much less than $530 per month.

So, what to do? I’m healthy now and I’ll be eligible for Medicare in less than four years, can I make it that long without a serious ailment? I’m inclined to go without health insurance, even knowing it’s a huge financial risk. But so is not having enough retirement savings.

Update: this week I received another notice from Anthem Blue Cross. They’re allowing me to opt into continuing my current health coverage through February 28, 2014. Of course I’ve already signed up for this, but it only postpones my gut-wrenching decision by two months.

The Obamacare mess reminds me of the 2008 presidential platform slogan “Hope and Change” — his changes have me hoping that US citizens can regain freedom from a meddling, control-freak government.

Thanks again for your insightful writings,


Reader Lynne provides yet another reason to “opt out” and pay the penalty. Ultimately, how many will opt out?

We will find out within a couple of months.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock