I know, when I read Landry’s column  in the N+O this morning declaring how at 60 he was “relatively” healthy and thus had no need to buy health insurance I had a less than charitable moment. After all every family in NC, mine included, pays over $1,000 in additional annual charges  for our health care plans to cover all the care we deliver to people without health insurance. And Landry’s just one nasty car accident or cancer diagnosis away from enormous hospital bills that all of us will have to help pay for. But then good sense reasserted itself.
Landry, by his own account, is down on his luck and shelling out the nearly $300 a month he had to pay as a 60 year old diabetic for a limited health plan is pretty expensive. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act however, starting October 1, Landry will have new health options to sign up for that start January 1, 2014. First, Landry can buy health plans that don’t charge him more on the basis of his pre-existing health conditions. He’ll also be able to check the health marketplace at www.healthcare.gov  to see what subsidies he qualifies for so he can find a health plan that fits his budget.
Unfortunately, because Landry lives in North Carolina, his friends at the NC General Assembly and the Governor’s office refused the billions of dollars in federal money available to NC to expand Medicaid. So, if he’s really, really hard up, he’ll find that below the poverty level, Medicaid isn’t available to him. Perhaps he’ll jump on the bandwagon to expand Medicaid next year though, since he’ll have personal experience with buying affordable coverage. We’ll welcome him with open arms.