Kadner: Print shop owner is Obamacare fan
By Phil Kadner email@example.com January 16, 2014 8:08PM
Updated: February 18, 2014 6:25AM
Marvin Forbish is a businessman who thinks Obamacare is “fantastic.”
Forbish, 62, who owns D-Marv Designs, a specialty printing firm in Blue Island, explained to me Thursday how he and his son saved a “ton of money” on health insurance through the Affordable Care Act.
Forbish had an insurance policy through a private carrier but thought the premiums were too high and “some of my doctors didn’t like the insurance company.”
His son, 24, was covered by another insurer, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, “and together our premiums were $660 a month.”
Forbish is a gregarious fellow known as “Mr. Shake n’ Bake,” and a large banner touting the nickname hangs in his store.
“I called Blue Cross a couple of times trying to get a better deal on insurance, and each time I was on the phone at least 45 minutes,” he said. “You talk to one person, and they transfer you to another. One time, I was on the phone for an hour and a half, talked to four people at Blue Cross and still didn’t get my situation resolved.”
Forbish told me attended a Markham Chamber of Commerce meeting on health insurance in December and heard an insurance broker, Patrick Fox, talk about the advantages of the Affordable Care Act.
Fox is one of 13 insurance brokers designated as “ambassadors” for Get Covered Illinois, the state agency that is registering people for medical coverage under Obamacare.
“I got Mr. Fox’s business card, called him and we talked about the sort of health insurance I wanted, the type of coverage I needed and what I was paying,” Forbish said. “We discussed the options available and decided the Silver PPO plan was best for me. It’s through Blue Cross/Blue Shield, too.
“My son and I are covered under the same policy. The premium is $80.14 a month. We were paying $660 per month combined.”
That’s a savings of about $7,000 a year.
“I was excited,” Forbish continued. “Do you know what a savings like that means to a small-business man? It means that I can keep on paying my employees. It means I can keep on helping my church and my community.
“These are tough economic times, and a businessman has to find ways to cut costs to make ends meet. I think the Affordable Care Act is fantastic, and business people who criticize it, I just think they don’t understand it.”
Forbish said he won’t have to pay a dime out of pocket for generic drugs. All regular diagnostic procedures, such as his upcoming prostate exam, will cost him “nothing.”
All of his doctors accept the insurance plan, he said, and the co-pay for a physician visit is $30.
“It’s a great deal,” Forbish said.
I was surprised that Forbish went through a private insurance broker because Illinois and the federal government are financing a lot of local organizations to register people for medical insurance (Aunt Martha’s and South Suburban PADS are two local agencies with certified agents).
Forbish said he never thought about contacting them and added that Fox charged him nothing for his services.
Fox said that as an insurance broker, he gets paid by the insurance carrier, not the person seeking health insurance.
He said a lot of people have contacted him in recent weeks as they’ve heard more about the benefits of Obamacare, but he couldn’t recall a single client who first had contacted a state-authorized agent.
“Most of the people who have been contacting me are people who had trouble navigating the website on their own or just wanted to talk to a person face to face to get some answers to their questions about the Affordable Care Act,” Fox said.
He said the first thing he does is determine the needs of his client, the type of medical coverage they want and their financial situation to ascertain if they are eligible for government subsidies.
“The bronze and silver plans are generally the most popular with the people we work with,” Fox said.
He said the fact that Forbish had insurance through a private company was not an unusual circumstance.
“You don’t have to be uninsured to qualify for insurance under the Affordable Care Act,” Fox said.
“People who are self-employed are finding out they can obtain insurance at quite a savings, and we’ve even had some people who have insurance through their employer but are paying such high premiums that they qualify for insurance under the federal law.”
Fox said anyone whose insurance premiums amount to at least 9.5 percent of their earnings can qualify for insurance under the new law.
“That 9.5 percent of earnings must represent the employee’s portion of the premiums only, not the cost including the employer’s share of the premium,” he said.
Fox, whose office is at 200 East 75th St., Chicago (708-636-5553), said he’s willing to help anyone who has questions about the application process free of charge.
“We’re always willing to walk someone through the steps and help them assess the coverage they need,” he said.
But he said the state’s website — getcoveredillinois.gov — is “very good” and you can locate on it the state-authorized organizations who can register people through that site.
There are also informational meetings scheduled in the Southland in coming weeks, and information about them is on the state website.
Forbish said he never tried getting on the website.
“My advice to any businessman who is buying insurance for himself is to explore what’s out there under this new federal insurance law,” Forbish said. “I had misgivings about the Affordable Care Act when it first came out. But the plan is fantastic.
“When you don’t know enough about something, you often tend to be negative about it. I’ve been talking to a lot of people, business clients and people at church, who are uninsured who are asking me about the Affordable Care Act.
“I tell them to talk to Mr. Fox and sign up.”