Good morning, and happy November! Do you know what day it is? It’s the first day of Open Enrollment for the Affordable Care Act! Yep, they haven’t killed it yet. You can still get health coverage for you and your family through the Affordable Care Act & Patient Protection Plan aka the ACA aka Obamacare.
Some of you might be surprised that we still have the Affordable Care Act! Doesn’t it seem like it’s been wiped out? Clearly our executive branch isn’t a huge fan of affordable healthcare – and why should they be? They don’t need it, or benefit from it, so it’s not important. (Except the part where Obama created it.)
My bitterness is rooted in facts. This year, our 45th president and his team have decided that some changes need to be made to the Affordable Care Act. (Isn’t that a nice way to put it?) But Obama signed the ACA into law in 2010 – it’s a federal law. It’s hard to mess with and, if you’ve been following along, the current administration’s ideas for repealing & replacing it are not going over well. Trump’s new plan is to essentially nickel and dime the insurance companies until it’s no longer safe, financially, for them to participate in the ACA insurance marketplace.
In the meantime, they have been able to do some damage to the enrollment period. Most notably:
- The enrollment period, itself, has been cut down from 12 weeks to only 6 weeks. This year, it ends on December 15, while last year, it ended on January 31.
- The advertising budget for the ACA enrollment period has been cut by 90%. This will result in fewer sign-ups, bolstering the President’s claim that the ACA isn’t well-used, and should be repealed.
- The organization grants to fund ACA Navigators (who assist people in enrollment) has been cut by 40%. This will mostly affect the middle of the country, where the majority of funded Navigators operate. Other Navigator programs, mostly coastal, receive independent funding and will be preserved.
It’s like when your friend comes over to drop something off and ends up staying for hours, so every time they want or need something you’re like “oh, we’re out of that,” or “nope, we don’t drink water here” or “no, actually, we never thought to put a toilet in the bathroom!” If you conveniently remove the basic requirement for sustenance from someone’s environment while “allowing” them to stay, they will probably leave – and at some point, they’ll have to. Unless they can’t.
Taking shots at these individual portions of the ACA will undoubtedly affect the people who need it. From missed signup dates to confusing enrollment processed and incorrectly filled out paperwork – there’s tons of room for errors and missteps.
Plus, many Americans simply can’t afford to pay high premiums for health insurance. In some cases, they can’t pay anything. Even under Obamacare, sometimes the people whose income qualifies them for a low payment insurance plan still can’t afford it.
Not having insurance can cause more than big bills at the doctor’s office. Lacking health insurance could result in receiving a penalty. So… the people who can’t afford the healthcare have to pay the government money because they don’t have enough money. What?
The penalty is calculated in one of two ways: either as a percentage of your total household adjusted gross income or a flat rate, whichever is greater.
- For tax year 2017, the penalty is 2.5% of your total household adjusted gross income, or $695 per adult and $347.50 per child, up to a maximum of $2,085.
- For tax year 2018 and beyond, the penalty amounts have not been announced, but are expected to increase. (NerdWallet)
At that point, it doesn’t matter whose fault it is – people need to be taken care of. It’s literally the least that we can do as a society. Do you know how I know that? Because 117 other countries on our fine planet have managed to incorporate free, universal health care into their communities in countries that span the spectrum of development.
Currently, the biggest threats are the constant attacks from the White House in combination with barely-there advertising budget. That’s all on top of the fact that this system is still new and confusing – especially for first-timers! In order to show how powerful and important the ACA is, people need to know they can sign up!
Enter to win a gigantic prize pack by sharing info about the ACA Enrollment Period!
Broke & Beautiful might just be a dumb little shopping & style blog, but one thing we’re great at is giveaways. In the past, we’ve run giveaways that span the spectrum of prizes. From books to beauty, we just really love giving stuff to you guys! And in the process, we’ve noticed that you guys are great at sharing. It’s takes a special bunch of people to lower their chances of winning just to share an opportunity with their friends!
So we’re going to use you… for good! The only way to enter this giveaway is to share info about the ACA Enrollment Period on Twitter, or to blog about it on social media.
The giveaway ends on December 15 – the last day of the enrollment period.
It might seem a little weird, but our last giveaway had 1700 entries, and it was for one pair of shoes! If those 1700 people each have 300 followers on Twitter, or 150 people reading their Tumblr or WordPress blog over six weeks, that would be 510,000 people reached through Twitter, and 255,000 people reached by a blog post. ?!?!?! The results could be immense!
The best part is that you can tweet daily for daily entries. There are 44 days left, and if you tweet once per day, that’s 44 entries for you! If you’re feeling extra ambitious, get five entries for writing your own blog post about the ACA Enrollment Period! Check the widget for all the info you need!
Okay, but what are the prizes?
Oh… do you like prizes?
It’s okay to love prizes, you guys! Even though this is a goodwill giveaway, the prizes are one of the best parts – especially when there are 23 of them. Some prizes were donated, some were sent by PR companies, and some of them were bought by me because I just can’t control myself around giveaways.
You could win…
- Grace & Style: The Art of Pretending You Have It by Grace Helbig ($13)
- NIVEA In-Shower Body Lotion with Almond Oil ($5)
- Dean & Deluca Peppermint Tea ($10.75)
- Kendra Scott Elaina Bracelet ($55)
- Bang-Up Betty I Love Science & Liberal Vagenda Enamel Pins ($26)
- House of Pom Emoji Cocktail Napkins ($25)
- BareMinerals Beaming Beauty ($39 – $105 value)
- Too Faced Cat Eyes Purrrrfection Kit ($30)
- Henri Bendel Striped Umbrella ($58)
- The Body Shop Holiday Softening Body Butter in Frosted Berries and Vanilla Chai ($35)
- Julep Nail Lacquer in Candace ($14)
- e.l.f. Cosmetics Blending Sponge ($5)
- c.Booth Peppermint Vanilla Body Lotion ($7.99)
- Fyrinnae Pixie Epoxy ($7)
- Fyrinnae Eyeshadow in Polar Bear ($6.95)
- BANDED Rose Gold Hair Tie Bracelet + 4 Hair Bands ($19.98)
- Covergirl Perfect Point Plus Eyeliner ($3.50)
- Sheena Sujan Eyelashes in Ginger Rogers ($19)
- Essence of Beauty Body Mist in Lillies & Freesia ($9)
- NCLA 7-Free Nail Lacquer in Born on the Fourth ($16)
- Odeme Porcelain Catch-All ($44)
- Fringe Studios Free Spirit Lined Journal ($16)
Total Value of the Prize: $465.17
Enter by filling out this widget – it will help you send out your daily tweet, and you can enter the URL of your blog post in the widget, too!
My Big Ol’ ACA Story
If you follow me on Twitter (or just finished reading this post), you might wonder why I give so many shits about the Affordable Care Act.
Well, I was lucky enough to start my participation in the ACA in 2014 after going insurance-less for more years than I’d like to admit. At one point during my insurance-free life, my Dad bought an insurance plan for me (against my will) just so he could sleep at night. #Parents, right? Luckily, he could afford the $200/month at the time, but I definitely couldn’t. Obviously, the introduction of the ACA changed the lives of millions of broke people (approximately 20 million, to be… approximate). And, hey – I was one of them!
It’s a good thing I was, too, because the day after Christmas in 2014 – less than a year after I scored my insurance – I got appendicitis in, like, an-emergency-right-now-holy-crap kind of way. My boyfriend drove me 30 miles away to the nearest ER while I puked into a Safeway bag about 35 times. After a cat scan, they determined that I needed surgery ASAP. ASAFP.
Earlier on the morning I went to the hospital, my cat ran up a tree and I helped her get down. 16 hours later, I was under constant monitoring while a surgery schedule was rearranged and surgeons called into work… for me.
I’ll spare you the details of the pain and surgery because you should be admiring the vat of homemade chicken soup from my friend Megan. Now that’s friendship! I will tell you that after my surgery, my surgeon told me that they’d found a perforation in my appendix upon removal. It was literally about to blow, and I’d gotten into the ER just in time. Whew. It was a good thing, too, because I think I only have about four lives left.
The hospital I was at, Whidbey General, was so incredibly good to me and I will never forget that team of specialists! I felt totally cared for, attended to, and honestly – loved. Plus, the food was somehow really good? Anyway, back to the point – the ACA saved my life in the most comfortable way imaginable.
It wasn’t until a few weeks later when I realized exactly how much the ACA had saved my life. Within a month of the procedure, I received a piece of mail outlining the services I’d received… and their price.
$25,115. A nice, round, obscenely high number.
Can you imagine my heart rate upon seeing this for the first time?! Here I am, freshly healed, two weeks after I leave the hospital, and I’m looking at $25k in services. It wasn’t until that last second-to-last line that I realized how not-screwed I was.
But the ACA is more than just surgeries that didn’t ruin my financial life. It’s safety and comfort for millions of families in our home country. It’s knowing that your kids can go play and explore, and if they get hurt, it’s going to be okay.
Insurance might seem like a big, pile of bureaucratic nonsense, and in a lot of ways, it is… but it also keeps people alive. Without the ACA, there will be even more struggling families in America than there already are. Even if you hate everything in this giveaway, consider sharing a quick tweet or telling a friend about the ACA Enrollment Period.
Don’t forget to enroll for affordable healthcare today at Healthcare.gov – send it to your loved ones!
The giveaway ends on December 15th at 11:59pm. Good luck and stay safe!