Questions about the Affordable Care Act's impact on health insurance premiums are starting to get answered. One local insurance agency says the self-employed - from farmers to small retail shop owners - are getting hit the hardest.
Quincy Resident Deborah Davis and her husband own Davis Auction and Realty. And while business may be booming for Davis, she said more of her hard-earned money could soon be going to health insurance premiums.
"I got on the Blue Cross Blue Shield web site, talked to three Blue Cross reps themselves and all four resources verified that my premium is going to from $230 a month up to nearly $500 a month," said Davis.
Like many self-employed Americans, Davis received a letter in the mail telling her the health insurance she currently has is going away now that the Affordable Care Act has been implemented.
"I've always taken care of my health," Davis said. "I've been a low health risk. I've gotten lower insurance premiums because of that. That isn't the facts now."
Davis now has to switch to a plan that covers health benefits required by law that she said she doesn't necessarily need, including maternity and newborn care.
"The new policies are going to include essential health benefits; One of those is maternity. So that's spread out across the board. Even a male is going to pay for maternity coverage," said Peggy Johnston with Winters Insurance Group in Quincy.
Johnston said many people are finding themselves in a situation similar to Davis's.
"If they don't qualify for a subsidy and they don't have any pre-existing health conditions it's definitely going to be more expensive for them," Johnston said.
Meanwhile, Davis said she's now left with two options; either pay the $500 a month premium, or do away with health insurance all together.
"I'm healthy now but will I be over the next two years until I go on Medicare? A lot of soul searching has to enter into this," Davis said.
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois provided WGEM with the following statement:
As changes occur that impact
our customers' policies, we are here to walk them through their coverage
options to access cost-effective, quality healthcare.
Our goal is to provide customers with as many options as possible whether they select plans directly from our company or from the federal or state marketplaces.
This includes options that most closely match what they have today as well as those with new product features or benefits.
As new Affordable Care Act provisions go into effect, individuals who purchase their own insurance will now receive safeguards historically provided to people receiving employer based insurance.
These safeguards include guaranteed issue, a wider pooling of risk and a broader array of covered benefits.
It is also important to keep in mind that there are consumer protections if rates are too high. If consumers pay too much in premium relative to the actual cost of medical care, they will be eligible for a premium rebate.
The impact to benefit options and premiums vary widely across our membership.
We are focused on communicating to our customers so that they can understand what their options are.
We do not report overall numbers because generalities can be misleading.
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