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Readers Write: My Obamacare story; The case for paper books over e-books

Letters to the Editor for the January 20, 2014 weekly magazine edition of the Monitor:

As retirees over 60, the closest Affordable Care Act policy to our old one costs 24 percent more and includes coverage we don't need. But the cost of our old policy has increased by 34 percent.

The ever-identical screens of my Kindle become mind-numbing, whereas the imperfections of my paper books serve as guideposts for locating key passages of text.

Finally, some research to explain why I never finish my e-books, but breeze through paper copies.

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Another 'Obamacare' story

While I enjoyed reading the Dec. 9 Focus, "Four stories of 'Obamacare,' " I think the article could have been even better if it had included one or more stories from people over 60, like my wife and me.

We recently retired but don't yet qualify for Medicare, and are both relatively healthy. When we retired, we purchased individual coverage. The closest 2014 Affordable Care Act (ACA) policy costs 24 percent more than our 2013 policy and includes coverage we don't need (maternity, pediatric coverage).

After President Obama's decision to allow individuals to keep their current plans, our old plan was offered to us with a 34 percent increase in price. I'm guessing that this significant increase was due to the insurance company's expectation that the 2014 pool of individuals will be smaller than the 2013 pool.

Bottom line: We're going with the ACA plan and paying the 24 percent more (better than 34 percent).

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Paper books or e-books?

I was particularly pleased at Ruth Walker's presentation of arguments in favor of paper over digital books in her Dec. 16 Verbal Energy column, "Finding our way in the landscape of books." Don't get me wrong. I own a Kindle, and while doing research I'm amazed at how often I can get from my device just the book I need – and cheaply or even for free.

But the ever-identical screens become mind-numbing, whereas even the sophomoric comments some student left in the margins of my paperback copy of "Paradise Lost" are a key to finding my place in the text (to say nothing of tears, creases, and flyspecks).

I'm an avid reader and am not a technophobe; I have a Kindle, tablet, laptop, and smart phone. Yet I have long wondered why I have such a hard time finishing e-books (I have at least nine languishing in various stages on my Kindle), whereas I pick up a "real" book and finish it quickly. The research described in Ms. Walker's column helped me understand the whys of my preference for paper books.

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