Some face higher premiums with Obama’s new health care plan

Posted on: 5:15 pm, September 17, 2013, by , updated on: 05:31pm, September 17, 2013

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Two weeks from today on October 1, the health insurance marketplace opens. It’s a website — healthcare.gov  — where you can go to compare plans and buy coverage under the health care law. Prices won’t be known until October 1, but if early indications hold true, there will be sticker shock for some.

Kevin McDonald has his own lawn care business. He has individual health insurance — a no-frills plan costing $192 a month.

McDonald was shocked to get a notice showing it will be $331 a month starting in January.

“It’s like another car payment. I’m a single man, so it’s gonna be really tough,” he said.

McDonalds’s insurance broker, Tom Morrill, knows why the premiums and deductibles are higher.

“Most of that’s because of the requirements in the health law that require essential health benefits,” Morrill said.

Those essential benefits include maternity coverage, although Kevin obviously doesn’t need that. Tom says the higher premiums are also a result of the law requiring that everyone be covered regardless of pre-existing health conditions.

Beginning October 1, Morrill will go online to the new health insurance marketplace and see if he can find less expensive coverage for McDonald and dozens of other clients in similar situations. Morrill said he is concerned he won’t be able to find a much better deal for McDonald.

“I don’t have anything in hand that says that yet, but I am concerned about it,” Morrill said.

There will be subsidies for those whose income is under 400 percent of the poverty level, but McDonald says he won’t qualify.

“I make too much,” he said. “I really don’t make too much, but enough that I won’t qualify for any subsidies.”

The insurance broker said people who don’t qualify for subsidies shouldn’t just look at the marketplace. Check out coverage from other insurers. Morrill suggests you find a good independent insurance broker who can help you sort through all the possibilities.  For more on those agents in the metro, visit gkcahu.org/index.html.

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