Tags: Healthcare Reform | obamacare | media | enrollment | figures

New York Couple Jolted By Obamacare Rate Shock

By    |   Tuesday, 23 Dec 2014 10:13 PM

When the latest Obamacare insurance signup figures came out last week, they were touted as good news by much of the mainstream media. "Obamacare enrollment appears on track to meet administration goals for 2015," read the lead sentence of one Politico story.

"Obamacare's Best Week Yet Brings 1 Million New Signups," Bloomberg blared.

"Obamacare Sign-Ups Glitch Free in Year Two," read a headline in The Fiscal Times.

Buried beyond the upbeat talk about the signup figures, however, are some huge premium increases for many Americans.

New York City resident Nicolas Karlson was happy to be one of at least 2.5 million people who beat a key Obamacare enrollment deadline last week. Dec. 15 was the cutoff for most customers choosing a health care plan from government-run Obamacare marketplaces like Healthcare.gov that would take effect Jan. 1.

Karlson signed up in time, but he's going to pay a lot more to insure his family – himself, his wife Monica, and their three children. The family will go from paying $1,805 every 90 days for their long-standing Aetna plan to a paying $1,221.60 a month for a new one from New York State's Obamacare exchange, CNBC reported. That's over 100 percent more than his Aetna plan cost.

The Affordable Care Act mandated a set of "essential health benefits" that insurance plans must cover, including preventative services, emergency-room visits, pediatric vision, and mental health care. This mandate rendered many existing plans out of compliance with the law. Pre-existing plans could be "grandfathered" in, and after the chaotic launch of healthcare.gov last year, the Obama administration allowed non-compliant plans to continue through 2017.

But not all insurance plans or states have decided to wait. While Karlson's plan was allowed to continue through the first year of Obamacare, Aetna is discontinuing it in 2015.

Despite facing a huge price increase, Karlson hoped to be able to purchase another Aetna plan. But that's when he learned he would have to pay out of pocket for any doctors who were outside Aetna's provider network – a huge problem, because many of the family's doctors are out of network and were covered by the cancelled plan.

After having enrolled in the new plan, Karlson did not sound very happy about his experience with Obamacare.

"It's like, I'm happy that I have insurance, but I wish I could have the insurance that I want," he told CNBC. "I feel I can adapt to whatever I have, and we are, but, I guess it's like I didn't realize I had a good thing."

Karlson said he and his wife were talking about getting appointments for some of their existing doctors before Jan. 1 "in the event they never are able to go to them again with coverage under the new [Obamacare] plan," CNBC reported.

"I'm just kind of annoyed that it's not as simple as it once was," Karlson said.

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When the latest Obamacare insurance signup figures came out last week, they were touted as good news by much of the mainstream media. "Obamacare enrollment appears on track to meet administration goals for 2015," read the lead sentence of one Politico story.
obamacare, media, enrollment, figures
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2014-13-23
Tuesday, 23 Dec 2014 10:13 PM
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