Nagoonberry

This world. This place. This life.

Many roads to Affordable Care

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2012-11-16 12.21.45I’m tired of everybody treating “Obamacare” as if it were the Alaska road system.

Let me explain.

Here in Alaska, outside of the towns and cities, there’s usually only one road from one place to another—except where there’s no road, in places accessible only by planes and boats.

The Glenn Highway connects the community of Eagle River and the northeast corner of Anchorage. When an accident closes the road—a frequent occurrence, given our weather and our problems with impaired driving—traffic backs up, bumper to bumper, for ten miles or more. There’s no alternate route. Waiting is the only option.

When Liesl and I lived in Eagle River and commuted to Anchorage, we’d listen carefully to traffic reports. Whenever an accident closed the road, we’d meet up at the Muldoon Fred Meyer, on the northeast side of town, for a few hours of retail therapy, waiting for the snarl to resolve itself.

Now that we live in Girdwood, we have the same problem. The Seward Highway connects Girdwood to Anchorage. It is a dangerous road, year-round. Once, when we had been in Anchorage shopping, we happened to hear about an accident. We had frozen food in the car, so we called Liesl’s boss, who flew in from Girdwood in his Cessna 206 to pick us up.

All I hear these days about the Affordable Care Act is “The website isn’t working. The website isn’t working. The website isn’t working.”

And not just from right-wing sources.

Here’s the thing. There are other roads. Healthcare.gov isn’t the only way to sign up for new ACA-compliant health plans.

You can apply with a paper application, online, by phone, or in person with local help. As a last resort, I believe you can purchase a plan directly from the insurance company of your choice.

There’s more than one road.

It’s a frustrating time. Many of us are anxious about the changes—and about the underlying problems of skyrocketing healthcare costs.

For some of us, anxiety looks like angry opposition to the ACA. For others, it looks like a reflexive defense of the ACA, an inability to admit that the plan has flaws.

I see the ACA is a first step—one that will help our family tremendously. From the calculations I’ve done, the three of us will save close to $20,000 next year with “Obamacare,” and we’ll get better coverage.

I’m giving Healthcare.gov a bit of time to sort itself out, and then I’ll apply online. If the website doesn’t work, I’ll try one of the other “roads.”

With a little patience, with a little help from each other, we can all find our way home.

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