paying $293 for next to no coverage is not better than $333 for silver coverage

Deborah Cavallaro in a promo for a get rich investment seminar. This should have helped her pay for a cadillac plan

Deborah Cavallaro in a promo for a get rich investment seminar. This should have helped her pay for a cadillac plan

Many of the Obamacare cancellation rate shock news reports have been vetted as well as a facebook post from the guy who sat next to you in junior year study hall. That is to say: not at all.

From LA Times’ Michael Hiltzik

I talked with Cavallaro, 60, after her CNBC appearance. Let’s walk through what she told me.

Her current plan, from Anthem Blue Cross, is a catastrophic coverage plan for which she pays $293 a month as an individual policyholder. It requires her to pay a deductible of $5,000 a year and limits her out-of-pocket costs to $8,500 a year. Her plan also limits her to two doctor visits a year, for which she shoulders a copay of $40 each. After that, she pays the whole cost of subsequent visits.

This fits the very definition of a nonconforming plan under Obamacare. The deductible and out-of-pocket maximums are too high, the provisions for doctor visits too skimpy.

As for a replacement plan, she says she was quoted $478 a month by her insurance broker, but that’s a lot more than she’ll really be paying. Cavallaro told me she hasn’t checked the website of Covered California, the state’s health plan exchange, herself. I did so while we talked.

Here’s what I found. I won’t divulge her current income, which is personal, but this year it qualifies her for a hefty federal premium subsidy.


The sad truth is that Cavallaro has been very poorly served by the health insurance industry and the news media. It seems that Anthem didn’t adequately explain her options for 2014 when it disclosed that her current plan is being canceled. If her insurance brokers told her what she says they did, they failed her. And the reporters who interviewed her without getting all the facts produced inexcusably shoddy work — from Maria Bartiromo on down. They not only did her a disservice, but failed the rest of us too.

via Another Obamacare horror story debunked –

Cavallaro wasn’t being swindled, but she was making a very high risk bet. She was betting $293 that:

  • she would only ever need 2 doctor appointments
  • $8500 of medical care costs in 2013

Catastrophic coverage is actually a misnomer, it doesn’t actually cover catastrophes! Or maybe having this type of coverage is catastrophic.

Cavallaro responded with an interview with Hugh Hewitt to maintain Obamacare is a raw deal for her. I won’t link to that jerk, but you can search “Hugh Hewitt Deborah Cavallaro” and find the “debunking” article. She tells Hewitt she can’t save with Obamacare and Hiltzik is wrong. Why? She doesn’t want to go on the California exchange and put in her personal information because then it will be in “cyberspace”.

Someone should remind Cavallaro that insurance companies have interwebs too! And sometimes they get hacked too! Cavallaro doesn’t want to use the exchanges (and she is in California where the exchanges work) for whatever reason, which is fine, but that means she is choosing the bad deal through her insurance broker over the better deal.

This is why the problems really are causing major political issues for Obama: this becomes harder to prove since you have to log-in to shop! Part of having a store is marketing the products that can be bought. stymies that marketing and in being a broken, poorly designed insurance portal has aided Obamacare naysayers.

Right now, the administration is working on getting the site functional, but they need to find a way to get cost matrices to insureds who have had their policies canceled so they understand the more modest difference in cost and the better quality of service in real terms.