Imagine making your health insurance decision the same way that you make your auto insurance decision.  It has nothing to do with where you work or even if you work.  You are free to pick insurance from any carrier.  Now imagine that the premium you pay has nothing to do with your health.  Enter the Affordable Health Care Act.

For someone who has struggled with the old health care system, this is a godsend.  We no longer have to worry about hitting another ‘lifetime maximum’.  We will never again be told to reschedule a lifesaving surgery because an insurance company has decided it involved a pre-existing condition (which ended up being a mistake on their part).

But it’s bigger than that.  This is a game changer.  There are millions of people who are ‘stuck’ in their jobs because they need the health insurance.  As a financial planner, I have had to carefully build retirement plans around the availability of health insurance for those not yet old enough for Medicare.   I have a friend who has already decided that she will drop her health insurance from her employer and purchase insurance on an exchange this October simply because she wants her job decision to be separate from her health insurance decision.  Divorcing health insurance from employment increases freedom.

Those hoping to retire early will no longer be limited to a COBRA time period.  Those wanting to start a new business will no longer be crippled by exorbitant ‘small group’ premiums (we were paying over $2,500 for two people).  Those looking for work will at least have an affordable option available to them.

The exchanges open on October 1st.  I will be shopping for new health insurance along with millions of other Americans.  I expect it to be a little bumpy in the beginning.  Go freedom.