**Some health insurance gets pricier as Obamacare rolls out **
Peter Lee, executive director of Covered California, said the state and insurers agreed that clearing the decks by Jan. 1 was best for consumers in the long run despite the initial disruption. Lee has heard the complaints — even from his sister-in-law, who recently groused about her 50% rate increase. “People could have kept their cheaper, bad coverage, and those people wouldn’t have been part of the common risk pool,” Lee said. “We are better off all being in this together. We are transforming the individual market and making it better.”
Lee said consumers need to consider all their options. They don’t have to stick with their current company, and higher premiums are only part of the cost equation. Lee said some of these rate hikes will be partially offset by smaller deductibles and lower limits on out-of-pocket medical expenses in the new plans.
Still, many are frustrated at being forced to give up the plans they have now. They frequently cite assurances given by Obama that Americans could hold on to their health insurance despite the massive overhaul.
“All we’ve been hearing the last three years is if you like your policy you can keep it,” said Deborah Cavallaro, a real estate agent in Westchester. “I’m infuriated because I was lied to.”
Supporters of the healthcare law say Obama was referring to people who are insured through their employers or through government programs such as Medicare. Still, they acknowledge the confusion and anger from individual policyholders who are being forced to change.
Cavallaro received her cancellation notice from Anthem Blue Cross this month. The company said a comparable Bronze plan would cost her 65% more, or $484 a month. She doubts she’ll qualify for much in premium subsidies, if any. Regardless, she resents losing the ability to pick and choose the benefits she wants to pay for.
“I just won’t have health insurance because I can’t pay this increase,” she said.
Most Americans are required to have health coverage starting next year or pay a fine of $95 per adult or 1% of their income, whichever is greater. The fines increase over time.
Gee, politicians lied to us. File under “water is wet”.
My favorite from all these “sticker shock” stories is from a twenty-something woman, enraged at the price of the bronze plan she would have to sign up for, “I mean I’m all for everybody having heath care but I didn’t think I’d have to pay for it, like, personally.”