There has been conflicting information from supporters and opponents of Obamacare over the last few months about just what is going to happen to premiums under the law.
Generally speaking - very generally - most employer based policies will either stay the same or increase or decrease slightly. But individual policies bought on the open market are expected to rise precipitously, as this family in Kentucky discovered.
"When I saw the letter when I came home from work," Andy said, describing the large red wording on the envelope from his insurance carrier, "(it said) 'your action required, benefit changes, act now.' Of course I opened it immediately."
It had stunning news. Insurance for the Mangiones and their two boys,which they bought on the individual market, was going to almost triple in 2014 --- from $333 a month to $965.
The insurance carrier made it clear the increase was in order to be compliant with the new health care law.
"This isn't a Cadillac plan, this isn't even a silver plan," Mangione said, referring to higher levels of coverage under ObamaCare.
"This is a high deductible plan where I'm assuming a lot of risk for my health insurance for my family. And nothing has changed, our boys are healthy-- they're young --my wife is healthy. I'm healthy, nothing in our medical history has changed to warrant a tripling of our premiums.
"Well I'm the one that does the budget," said his wife. "Eventually I've got that coming down the pike that I gotta figure out what we're gonna cut what we're gonna do, to afford a $1,000 a month premium."
Their insurance company, Humana, declined to comment, but the notice to the Mangiones carried this paragraph:
" If your policy premium increased, you should know this isn't unique to Humana -- premium increases generally will occur industry-wide.
"Increases aren't based on your individual claims or changes in health status," it continued. "Many other factors go in to your premium including: ACA compliance, including the addition of new essential health benefits."
ACA, of course, is the abbreviation for the President's new law, the Affordable Care Act -- which for the Mangiones will be anything but affordable because the law adds a new tax on every insurance policy and requires a list of additional benefits the Mangiones didn't want to pay for.
Robert Zirkelbach, spokesman for American Health Insurance Plans, which represents insurers,explained that "for people who currently choose to purchase a high deductible, low premium policy that's more affordable for them, they are now being required to add all these new benefits to their policy.
That," he says, "is also going to add to the cost of their health insurance premiums."
Somebody has to pay for this monstrosity. SInce insurers can't charge sick people any more for health insurance than they charge the healthy, the healthy are going to pay. What else did you expect, America?
Obamacare is going to surprise a lot of Americans over the next few months. Unless you are a union member, or a company lucky enough to receive a waiver, most Americans are going to be paying a lot more for their insurance and wonder how it could have happened.