The president said Sanford’s story was proof, despite the technical problems with the healthcare.gov website, that the Affordable Care Act was working.
“That’s what the Affordable Care Act is all about. The point is, the essence of the law – the health insurance that’s available to people – is working just fine,” Obama said.
But then, after Obama mentioned her story, Sanford started having problems. Sanford said she received another letter informing her the Washington state health exchange had miscalculated her eligibility for a tax credit.
In other words, her monthly insurance bill had shot up from $198 a month (she had initially said $169 a month to the White House but she switched plans) to $280 a month for the same “gold” plan offered by the state exchange.
Sanford said she was frustrated with the state’s error. But she decided to purchase the new plan and thought everything was fine.
It wasn’t fine. Last week, Sanford received another letter from the Washington state exchange, stating there had been another problem, a “system error” that resulted in some “applicants to qualify for higher than allowed health insurance premium tax credits.”
The letter said the state exchange was “disappointed to have discovered this issue” and apologized.
The result was a higher quote, which Sanford said was for $390 per month for a “silver” plan with a higher deductible. Still too expensive
A cheaper “bronze” plan, Sanford said, came in at $324 per month, but also with a high deductible – also not in her budget.
Then another letter from the state exchange with even worse news.
“Your household has been determined eligible for a Federal Tax Credit of $0.00 to help cover the cost of your monthly health insurance premium payments,” the latest letter said.
“I had a good cry,” Sanford said about her reaction to the latest news from the state.
As a self-employed court reporter, the new quote was simply out of her range.
“This is it. I’m not getting insurance,” Sanford told CNN. “That’s where it stands right now unless they fix it.”
Sanford, an Obama supporter who voted for the president twice, is careful to say she blames the state of Washington’s online marketplace for the mixed signals and not the White House.
She is sorry Obama mentioned her during the October 21 speech.