Healthcare reform is an undertaking on a massive scale. With upwards of 320 million people living in America, how could it be otherwise? Whether you were one of the many Americans able to keep your health insurance following the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), or Obamacare, you had to switch policies or providers, or you gained health insurance coverage for the first time, you were likely affected by this momentous overhaul of the health insurance industry. Although many Americans were able to gain affordable health insurance coverage thanks to Obamacare, others were not as lucky and ended up paying more. Why was this the case, and if you were one of the people who saw a negative financial impact, what can you do about it?
One of the issues revolves around the Obamacare mandate that every American obtain health insurance coverage. Not only that, but the coverage has to meet standards for minimum essential coverage. For those not insured prior to Obamacare, the sudden onus to purchase health insurance was almost certainly an added expense, but the healthcare marketplace was designed to ensure that users would be granted affordable health insurance options. As a result, many Americans who previously went uninsured due to high costs were able to obtain affordable health insurance. Unfortunately, some Americans who were already insured were forced to switch policies or providers because their policies at the time didn’t meet minimum coverage standards. The result may have been higher-priced insurance in some cases.
Another issue may have been employers changing plans. With many insurance providers being forced to shuffle policies to come into compliance with minimum essential coverage standards and employers with 50+ employees on staff being required to provide group health insurance plans, there may have been changes to options that caused prices to increase or employer contributions to decrease. In other words, the policies your employer decided to offer may have become more expensive or your employer may have elected to offer more expensive policies for some reason.
Of course, initial increases to insurance premiums were due in large part to the increases in protection and services offered under Obamacare. For example, insurance providers can no longer discriminate when setting premiums for policies, charging more because an applicant is a woman, is elderly, or has a preexisting condition. Those with preexisting conditions can no longer be denied coverage. And certain preventive healthcare services must be made available.
In addition, however, we are now starting to experience hikes in health insurance premiums. Costs that were kept low during the transition to Obamacare have now started to undergo inflation, and this is not an unexpected turn of events. If your insurance premiums are on the rise, though, there may be a solution. If you have insurance through your employer, chances are you’re already getting the best rates. But it might be worth looking into plans available through your state health insurance exchange, especially if your employer-sponsored plan doesn’t provide for employer contributions to cover a spouse or children. If you’re still not seeing the affordable prices you want, you can speak with a marketplace representative to better understand your options. You should have many options to explore when it comes to both coverage and cost.
Submit your questions below or start a conversation in the comments!