Kyle Fairchild, Cambridge
We’ve heard a lot about Obamacare in the last few months, most of it negative. I’d like to offer a personal perspective.
My mother, Dolly, has been a Cambridge-based health insurance broker for 35 years. A few years ago, I joined her to ‘help out a bit’, primarily with the computer stuff. I’ve since become licensed and we’ve brought on a third person.
In the fall, we agreed to become ‘assisters,’ helping individuals and families enroll in MNSure, Minnesota’s version of Obamacare. We’ve now helped with about 15 enrollments. And yes, there were many technical glitches in the beginning. But, thankfully, those seemed to have been mostly worked out.
My perspective on MNSure and Obamacare has radically changed. The thinking among insurance brokers was that because no one can be ‘rated-up’ or denied due to poor health, premiums would raise 40-60 percent. That turned out not to be the case. Plus, most people either qualify for a tax credit or cost reduction to help pay for premiums and deductibles. Or, they qualify for Minnesota Care or Financial Assistance which covers much more. What they qualify for is based on income, not assets. This is bringing relief to many, many people.
My personal opinion is access to affordable health care should be a basic right of all citizens, just as it is in most of the rest of the developed world. This is finally happening here.
Our hardest job is reassuring people that they are not getting charity or welfare by finally having access to reasonable, affordable health care. The travesty is that millions in our country for many years have had to make a decision between keeping their health insurance or paying for other essential needs. This has become the norm for them.
Seeing this burden lifted off their shoulders is a moving experience. How can you not be moved in seeing tears of relief in the eyes of a proud Minnesota farmer or a struggling carpenter with four children … this is what we see on a daily basis.
We are probably not going to be paid for our assistance, but that’s okay. What we are doing is much bigger and more important than financial compensation.
Presidents have been trying to bring affordable health care to the U.S. since 1901. I say, “hat’s off” for seeing the problem and having the vision and the guts to do something permanent to help the people of the United States.
One final note … If you are under 65 and need affordable health insurance, visit mnsure.org, or call MNSure (855-366-7873) or call us. You’ll need to enroll and pay by Dec. 23 to be effective Jan. 1. Or, enroll and pay by March 31, for future dates. After March, you’ll have to wait until October before enrollment opens again for everyone.