Debate Magazine

Shoppers on WA Health Benefit Exchange Report Sticker Shock

Posted on the 04 October 2013 by Eowyn @DrEowyn

obamacare Some shoppers on the Washington Health Benefit Exchange say they’re finding the Affordable Care Act is anything but affordable.

Eric Levy is a self-employed financial accountant in Seattle who pays a monthly premium of $541 for health insurance for his wife and two kids.
Last month he received this letter from Regence informing him that under the ACA, his plan will no longer be available January 1, 2014.

The plan that Regence suggested as a replacement had higher premiums and out-of-pocket costs of almost $300 more a month.

“I thought, oh my God. I have to revisit budget items,” said Levy.
So he jumped online to the Washington Health Benefit Exchange and the sticker shock for a comparable plan was double the price he pays now.  “It’s another $500 a month that you have to think about how you’re going to pay for,” said Levy.

Levy admits the new premiums “won’t break the bank,” since he and his wife bring in about $150,000 a year. But they will force them to make sacrifices, like saving for college tuition, or providing music classes for their children.

Other viewers emailed KING 5, describing a similar situation.

“Noble idea, poorly executed,” wrote Mike. “Obama’s 2009 promise that we could keep what we had for plan if we liked it…it just wasn’t true.

“My wife is 62,” wrote Dave. “Her insurance will go up by over $200 a month to about $750.”

“Our insurance rates will go up $385 a month,” Mary wrote, who is self-employed with a family of four. “I  am wondering what I am suppose to do now?”

What’s worse for Levy, he is paying for certain coverage he doesn’t need“The real thing that jumped out at me is all of a sudden I’m required to have maternity coverage,” he said.

Michael Marchand, director of communications for the Washington Health Benefit Exchange, explains that maternity coverage is one of the benefits mandated by the ACA.  “Any state has the ability to change that or modify that, but that would take a legislative action,” said Marchand.

Levy hopes enough people speak out and changes can come soon. “I want the person who makes $15,000 a year at McDonald’s to have health care coverage,” said Levy. “I just want to know why you have to double my insurance cost to make sure that person has it.”

I tried the basic calculator for WA ST and I will probably end up on Medicaid, because of my part-time salary. Today on the radio, I heard a Washington women, who makes $5,000 a year (she’s a student with one child), and she said she will have to go on Medicaid. And get this – she’ll be paying $440/month - yikes! I’m dreading having to sign up for this baloney.


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