- - Wednesday, November 12, 2014

After the last year, it should be abundantly clear why the uninsured should refuse to sign up for Obamacare during the upcoming enrollment period, beginning November 15.

From technological enrollment disasters to privacy concerns to reduced patient choices, Obamacare didn’t gain many new fans in 2014. In fact, the government health care plan has alienated many of those it wants to win over. Indeed, Americans have watched government health care in action, and they are not pleased.

As the next open enrollment period begins, many may still be contemplating coverage for the new year, but Americans should think twice—actually 7 times—about the wisdom of enrolling in Obamacare. And those who are enrolled should consider un-enrolling and should make sure they are not automatically re-enrolled in a higher-priced policy.

While open enrollment allows the uninsured to get insured and those wanting to change their coverage to do so, if they knew the true costs to their pocketbooks, choices and privacy, would they want to?

Seven important reasons say, “no”:

1.  Higher premiums—The higher cost of coverage and the high deductible, due to new taxes and mandates, are unaffordable for many, even with federal taxpayer-funded subsidies.

2.  Limited choice of providers—Many health plans available in the state-based exchanges and the federal HealthCare.Gov exchange have severely limited choices of doctors, clinics and hospitals.

3.  Limited choice of coverage—Obamacare coverage options are HMO-like managed care plans. Inexpensive true insurance — catastrophic major medical plans — have been outlawed by Obamacare except for individuals 29 and younger.

4.  Privacy intrusions—The government exchanges are collecting private information on individuals, employers and navigators from application forms, state databases and health plans. A new federal database available to government agencies and others is storing data on household income, tax status, employment, family status, health, citizenship, insurance status, incarceration and more.

5.  No private insurance— Obamacare is essentially a sliding-fee scale “Medicaid for the middle class.” Obamacare is not private coverage. Individuals must apply to the federal government, and, as with other Medicaid programs, they may use only the health plans under contract with the government.

6.  IRS subsidy “clawbacks”—Most enrollees are unaware that they may be required to repay the IRS for the premium subsidy their health plan received on their behalf. To avoid these “clawbacks,” enrollees must check in with the government exchange if their financial or family status changes during the year. The government’s financial accountability system won’t even be ready until 2016. Can we trust the IRS to have the right numbers in hand when they impose these clawbacks on Americans?

7.  States and insurance companies are dumping Obamacare—37 states have refused to build or discontinued state health care insurance exchanges. Likewise, insurance companies are likely to pull out and leave enrollees uninsured. PreferredOne Health Insurance, the insurance company with the most Obamacare enrollees in Minnesota, is discontinuing coverage for 2015 leaving enrollees to face double-digit increases for other coverage.

There are three legal ways to avoid the pain and intrusions of Obamacare coverage. These alternatives protect Americans’ private medical data, expand choices in medical care, allow medical professionals to provide individualized care and allow hard-working Americans to keep more dollars in their pockets:

Buy private insurance outside of the government exchanges, such as a private policy, employer-sponsored coverage or a private insurance exchange.Pay the penalty tax in 2016 for being without coverage in 2015. In 2015, the penalty tax increases to 2 percent of net income or $325, whichever is greater—still less expensive and less risky than high government premiums.Claim one of the 9 Obamacare exemptions, including membership in a health sharing organization, or one of the 14 hardship waivers, which almost anyone can claim.

While the Obama administration wants to restrict our health care options and capture our private health information and medical data, individuals need not succumb to the traps and trials of Obamacare. Americans should take every opportunity to protect their health freedom, and November 15 is a perfect day to start—by saying “no” to Obamacare.

Twila Brase, a registered nurse, is president and co-founder of Citizens’ Council for Health Freedom (CCHF, www.cchfreedom.org), a Minnesota-based national organization dedicated to preserving patient-centered health care and protecting patient and privacy rights.

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