Customers Complain Their Insurance Plans Change in Prep for ACA

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by Alex Schuman

WHAS11.com

Posted on November 7, 2013 at 12:26 AM

Updated Thursday, Nov 7 at 12:47 AM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11)-- Thousands of insurance customers are getting letters in the mail telling them their plans must change.  The letters offer you to take a new policy, or wait a year until the insurance company will force the change.

It is one of the next steps in adapting policies to fit into the requirements of the Affordable Care Act.  Ronda Sloan with Kentucky’s Dept. of Insurance says more letters are on the way to households across the Commonwealth.

Many Kentuckians qualify for the subsidies that make new plans cheaper, and have told WHAS they are saving a lot of money.  However, there are others who fall do not qualify, but also do not make enough to feel like they can afford the new plans.

“We received a letter saying that my wife and daughter’s insurance no longer meets the standards that are set,” said Scott Johanningsmeier, an insurance customer.

Scott joined about 280,000 other Kentuckians by learning his policy would need to change.  The policies now must all offer 10 essential benefits (here’s a direct link if you want to link to this: http://healthbenefitexchange.ky.gov/Pages/Essential-Health-Benefits.aspx), which include maternity care and mental illness.

“I ran the numbers and [our premium is] is going up by 36 percent,” he said.

Scott gets his insurance through his employer, but must have some kind of insurance to cover his wife and daughter.

According to Sloan, people who get these letters can either take the new plan or go to Kentucky’s healthcare marketplace to look for a new company.  The third option would be to go uninsured and pay the fine.

Scott went to the website to see if they qualified for any subsidies.

“Our family makes just enough to where the response I got was, ‘No, you don’t qualify for anything,’” he said.

Both Scott and his wife work.  According to him, their family misses the subsidy line by just a few thousand dollars.

“You know that’s one of two options – either you keep working and you work the numbers,” he said.  “Or you take less hours in order to qualify, which really isn’t an option at all.”

Scott’s planning to bite the bullet and pay the higher premium.  He’s written his congressman and senators asking for a change.

"I would rather it be our choice when we were financially able to versus here you have to make this work,” he said,  “That's what really bothers me about it."
 

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