How affordable is the Affordable Care Act? Not very, it would seem for Washington state resident Jessica Sanford.
The self-employed single mother was cited last month as an ObamaCare success story by President Obama in the Rose Garden. But according to Washington State Wire, she's now finding out she doesn't qualify for the tax credits she was originally told she'd get.
Sanford, who told the news site she hasn't had health insurance in 15 years, initially said she was excited by the prospect of purchasing a policy for her and her son under ObamaCare. Before ObamaCare, Sanford was getting health insurance rate quotes of about $500-$600 a month. That was too steep for the freelance court reporter.
But she wrote a letter to Obama about the new health care overhaul and what it would mean to her. Her son has ADHD, requires regular doctor visits and must take medication that costs $250 a month.
Obama quoted from Sanford’s letter during an Oct. 21 speech at the Rose Garden, where he was pitching the merits of the new health care law.
“Now, that is not untypical for a lot of folks like Jessica who have been struggling without health insurance,” the president said. “That is what the Affordable Care Act is all about.”
Sanford’s home state of Washington is one of 14 that opted to create its own online health care exchange rather than use the glitch-ridden federal one. Sanford enrolled in a “gold”-level health plan offered by Premera Blue Cross. Due to a tax credit, she got a $452 discount -- and a plan for just $169 a month.
Sanford, though, reportedly then got a letter from her state health exchange that said they had made an error in the tax-credit calculations. The mistake affected 4,600 policies and covered 8,000 people – including Sanford.
Sanford went back with her health care broker and tried again, according to the article. This time she qualified for a lower tax credit. She signed up for Premera’s “silver” plan – which meant higher copays and deductibles for her.
Still, it was lower than what she had been paying.
And then, she reportedly got another letter. This one said she didn’t qualify for any type of tax credit.
Apparently this happened because the state-run insurance plan told her that her income was low enough that she could enroll her son in Apple Health, the state Medicaid program for children of low-income families.
To do that, she’d have to pay a low monthly premium of $30. She signed up her son. However, because she did, she would not be able to count him toward a tax credit for her. She got a third letter last week saying her income is too high to qualify for subsidies, according to the report.
“I thought this was a total mistake, they’re going to correct this – this isn’t true,” she told Washington State Wire. “How could I not qualify for a tax credit? I make under $50,000 a year. There’s got to be something. So I got ahold of my broker, and a couple of days later he called me back, and he told me that no, it was true."
Calls to Premera by FoxNews.com were not immediately returned.