By Hillary Rosner
Boulder, Colo. — HERE’S an ethical dilemma. If you could save your family more than $8,000 next year simply by signing a statement affirming belief in principles you find repugnant, would you?
It sounds absurd. But in fact that’s the position I’m in this week, thanks to a loophole in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare. My health insurance poses a financial hardship to my family. All I have to do to lower my yearly bills by thousands of dollars is use my John Hancock to denounce gay marriage and a woman’s right to control her reproductive destiny.
By Dec. 15, like many Americans, I need to choose a new health insurance plan for 2017. I am a freelance journalist and editor. My husband runs a small business that pays him a salary but no benefits. We are among the millions of Americans who, under the Affordable Care Act, buy individual insurance through an increasingly expensive and inadequate marketplace. Since the law went into effect, monthly premiums for my family of three have already more than doubled, from $450 a month to $930. (In Colorado, my home state, 2017 rates are on average 20 percent higher than they were in 2016; in some counties that number is 40 percent.) On top of that, high deductibles mean we pay for nearly everything ourselves. In 2016, between monthly premiums and out-of-pocket costs, we’ve spent roughly $20,000 on health care.
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