The Daverts, a Christian family suffering from disabling diseases, have reportedly lost healthcare coverage for their children due to the complexities of the Affordable Care Act, also known as "Obamacare."
President Barack Obama had promised "that families who wanted to keep their insurance could keep their insurance, and that clearly was not the case in our situation," Melissa Davert told The Christian Post in an interview on Tuesday. While Davert and her husband still have their coverage through Medicare, she recounted a letter from Blue Cross Blue Shield, saying their children's private plan had been cancelled "because of the new Affordable Care Act requirement."
Melissa and her twin children Austin and Michaela have brittle bone disease, which impedes natural skeletal growth, and those afflicted with it are more likely to break bones and develop infections. Each of them is no taller than three feet, and they use walkers and chairs to get around. The father, Ken, suffers from cerebral palsy.
Applying for Obamacare
Melissa Davert tried to register her children on the exchange three times, and each attempt failed. As soon as they discovered the coverage would not be extended, she applied over the phone because the website was not working. A few days before the deadline, "we contacted them back and they told us that they had lost our application."
They reapplied immediately, but after another few days learned that the kids had been denied the opportunity to enroll in the marketplace. An insurance agent applied for a third time, and they were denied yet again. "At this point, our only alternative was to file a complaint and that will take up to 90 days," Davert explained.
Due to these delays, the parents decided to open another account with Blue Cross Blue Shield, "essentially the same plan we would have for them on the marketplace." Since they did not enroll in the marketplace, however, they cannot see if they are eligible for subsidies or tax credits.
"The biggest problem right now," Davert told CP, "is that the very best plan that we can purchase for our children puts us at a considerably higher out-of-pocket cost for medical expenses." While their out-of-pocket costs were once capped at $2,500 per year for both children, they now have to pay up to $5,100 per child, a combined total of $10,200 each year.
"We quite often max out every year at the $2,500 limit," Davert reported, so the increased ceiling will likely cost them thousands of dollars. She also said it was very likely that one surgery could max out the $5,100 minimum. "When one of the kids had her tonsils out, they put her in the ICU," Anne Schieber, senior investigative analyst at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, told CP on Tuesday. Schieber explained that, due to their small size, the children are very susceptible to lung infection.
"If You Like Your Plan"
Davert pined for her children's old health plan. "We would have kept our old policy had we the option to do so," but "the company won't offer it," and "when I asked them why, they said it was due to the Affordable Care Act."
While the parents are disabled, they still make too much money — through disability — to sign up their children for Medicaid. Disability payments still count as taxable family income for Medicaid eligibility, Schieber explained. Even after Michigan increased the threshold for Medicaid last year, the Daverts still did not qualify.
"Three years ago, you could easily have seen this family being the posterchild of Obamacare — high risk, likely not able to find insurance," Schieber said. Instead, "like millions of people, they lost their insurance once Obamacare kicked in."
When Davert reached out to three local officials, she was surprised by the lack of sympathy. "One merely took my information and wasn't interested in helping at all," she explained. Another "tried to argue the benefits of this law to my family as opposed to listening to how it hurts my family."
The third official would not even speak to her, but his aide suggested opening a Health Savings Account — an option only available to families with more money.
Davert lamented her situation, but she also lamented the condition of America. "It saddens me that our decisions aren't based on Christian values." She argued that "even if you're not a believer, you can be kind to people and care about them, be driven by what's right as opposed to a dollar or personal motive."
"I've had people tell me we shouldn't have had children because we have disabilities," Davert told CP. Nevertheless, she insisted that "we have a happy life," and she marvelled at the callousness of such an assertion. "It makes me wonder, when they say those things, what they hold as value in their life."
When it comes to the government, Davert said she saw power slipping out of the hands of the people. "We're being more and more ruled than being self-governed," she concluded.
Mrs. Davert also requested prayer for her family and their situation.