LEE’S SUMMIT, Mo. — Open enrollment for 2017 health insurance got underway Tuesday. Expect cost increases that are much higher for some than for others.
Robbie Martini loves being in ministry at Lee’s Summit First Church. He doesn’t love paying for individual health insurance coverage for his family of three. The monthly premium is $469.
“Last year was a really nice car payment, right? This next year’s premium is a house payment,” said Martini.
With another child on the way, Martini has just learned the same plan will be $754 a month next year. That’s a 60 percent increase. The deductible also rises.
“Absolutely it scares us. We, like I said, we’ve cut back as much as we can. We’d like to be homeowners at some point, but at this rate, we can’t.”
Sticker shock awaits others like Martini who don’t qualify for subsidies on the federal marketplace. The government says up to 90% of those who do get subsidies will see little or no increases in their premiums.
As for those who get health insurance through their employers, expect increases that won’t be as high as Martini faces. Mercer’s annual survey of Kansas City area employers found they expect to hold increases to 5.5%.
“A 5.5% increase is about half what national trend is, so employers are actively making plan changes, engaging their employees,” said Mark Whiting of Mercer.
Employers are engaging employees in options such as health savings accounts. He added that you need to consider more than the monthly premium in picking a plan.
“If I access care, what’s the cost going to be to me? Deductibles, co-pays, co-insurance,” said Whiting.
Martini thinks there has to be an overhaul of the system.
“Our economy just can’t withstand that,” he said, adding that he may need to find a second job to pay for health insurance next year.