Getting Signed Up: Michael from Illinois

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By Consumers Union on Friday, December 20th, 2013

Michael Londo and his wife are proof that the wait is worth the reward when it comes to getting signed up for new health insurance coverage.

Prior to starting their own business a couple of years ago, Michael had a job with health benefits that covered his pre-existing condition (he has had two brain injuries). “If not for those benefits, I would have been virtually uninsurable,” said Michael.

But when he lost that job a couple years back, keeping coverage became much more difficult. Michael went on to COBRA for as long as he could, but when it expired he was only able to afford a policy that excluded his pre-existing condition. His wife and kids have been covered under a separate high deductible policy.

Soon after the launch of healthcare.gov, Michael and his family started to check out their new options. But it wasn’t easy dealing with the glitches, having to re-do their application, and working extensively with people over the phone.

Still, Michael says it was worth the trouble. “This is a new launch,” he said. “I’m completely in support of having some major overhaul of the healthcare system.”

The new plan covers all four of them, and has a much lower deductible and lower out-of-pocket costs than the plan Michael’s wife and kids are currently on. They will receive about $800/month in subsidies, bringing their total monthly payment to $700. And they’re still checking, but so far it looks like most of their current doctors are in the new network.

Consumers can continue signing up for health insurance on the marketplace through December 23 for a January 1 start date, and through March 31 for a later start date. To learn about your options, visit our new Consumer Reports tool Health Law Helper.

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