Help me out here, because I really don't understand how it works....but how are you supposed to pay for private health insurance if you lose employment?
I think that the argument was that you could leave your job and become self-employed or join a small business without a company plan. I did that. I left my job to start my own business, and I insure myself and my family through the marketplace.
It has not been a particularly pleasant experience. While yes, I am able to get insurance, the marketplace has an extremely limited number of options. For 2014, I had 3 choices in my state. For 2015, it's better and bigger, but choice basically amounts to "choose your hospital system."
The worst part, though, has been the repeated bureaucratic barriers the system puts into place. First, I had to prove the citizenship of me, my wife, and my children. Our birth certificates were not initially accepted as proof. After a back and forth with the Marketplace, I eventually convinced them that we were, in fact, citizens of the US. I should note that for at least four generations from me and my wife, our ancestors were born in the US. It's probably more than four.
The issue we continue to battle, though, is "proof of income." My income decreased dramatically -- it was to be expected as I went from a dependable salary to starting my own business. Every few months, I get a request from the marketplace to submit a W-2. After getting on the phone and explaining that I'm self-employed, I get asked to submit an income ledger. As I am an attorney, many of my financial transactions are legally privileged and I am not permitted to disclose them except in a general sense. The first several times I submitted my self-employment ledger, it was rejected on the grounds that it did not contain sufficient information. Additional calls followed, and I have some small hope that my most recent submission (done this month) will be accepted without further objection.
In any case, someone who says that it's easier to start your own business now than before may be technically correct (the best kind of correct), but it's no cakewalk now.