Wednesday, Dec 4, 2013
Some Health Insurance Customers See Rates Spike
JOHNSON COUNTY -- Some health insurance customers in southern Illinois are voicing their concerns over rate increases. Families are seeing their premiums for 2014 jump by hundreds of dollars.
Members of Health Alliance contacted News 3. They received much higher rates from the company in the mail this week.
Larry Davis of Ozark is one of those members.
"I was capable of paying it before," said Davis.
Davis was in shock when he opened a letter and booklet from Health Alliance, his insurance company of three years.
"My plan is no longer available, and they have matched me with the closest plan they could find," said Davis.
Davis 64, is retired, and a smoker. He's currently spending $426 dollars a month for coverage.
"It paid for my doctor visits," said Davis. "I had an 80/20. I paid 20 percent."
The plan his company is now suggesting costs more than $1,200 dollars. That's too expensive for the Johnson County resident to keep.
"At the new rates, it will be approximately 60 percent or more of my income," said Davis.
Davis isn't the only customer taken back by a jump in premiums.
A Perry County Family of three told News 3 their Health Alliance rate is rising from roughly $300 dollars a month to about $1,200. On the new health care marketplace, a similar plan with subsidies would be more than $500 dollars a month.
Health Alliance released the following statement to News 3:
"Even with the Affordable Care Act (ACA) now in motion, My Health Alliance members' annual rate increase is influenced by many of the same factors in previous years, including inflation and the rising costs of medical technology and prescriptions.
While we can't speak to a specific member's plan or options, new in 2014, members on all ACA-compatible plans will have to pay for Essential Health Benefits (EHBs). Plans must cover at least 60 percent of the costs of the EHB and must comply with deductible and out-of-pocket maximum limits. That can mean higher premiums for some members. Also, plans are no longer allowed to deny (or apply a higher rate to) individuals with pre-existing conditions.
Depending on members' income and family size, they might qualify for help paying for their health care coverage. They can learn more at GetCoveredIllinois.gov
Any member with questions is encouraged to call My Health Alliance at 1-866-247-3296."
Davis will soon be making calls to "Get Covered Illinois" to figure out if he qualifies for any assistance.
"I understand I might be eligible for a subsidy," said Davis. "But why should someone else pay for my insurance?"
He's also hoping to talk more with his Health Alliance agent about the changes.
"I'm sure it will take me weeks to get this solved," said Davis.
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