Littlewood knows from personal experience that the health care system's status quo is no good. She has owned an automotive accessory business for 34 years. She said her company's group health insurance policy, which covers her and one employee, costs $1,460 per month. If she renews the policy for another year, its monthly premiums will go up to $1,553.
She said she can't afford it anymore, but she has no other choice for obtaining coverage, since no insurance company will offer an affordable plan to a 59-year-old breast cancer survivor.
"I think I'm being discriminated against," she said. "I am healthy and I am tired of getting beat up each year with the high insurance costs."
Thanks to Obamacare, Littlewood is now considering other options. If she's willing to spend six months uninsured, she can qualify for a little-known new program called the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan. In Florida, the PCIP's monthly premiums range from $376 to $505 per month.
"That's a substantial savings," Littlewood said. "It's a heck of a lot better than what I'm paying now."
Fewer people have enrolled in the PCIP than the Obama administration expected, and its costs per enrollee have been much higher. Yet for many of the 80,000 Americans who have signed up, the program is a lifesaver. The Huffington Post has followed several people who have actually canceled their private insurance in order to spend six scary months uninsured so they can qualify.
The program will be phased out 2014, at which point the insurance industry will no longer be allowed to exclude sick people from coverage. At the same time, people with lower incomes will receive government subsidies to purchase health plans, and people who don't buy insurance will have to pay a penalty to the IRS.