I thought our health insurance drama was over this year when we settled on a new plan during open enrollment in November. I wrote about our new plan then, which included a premium jump of more than 30% despite doubling our premium to $13K and dramatically dialing back the doctors and clinics we could go to in-network.
As I wrote then, the insurance market in our state was turned into a mess after the Affordable Care Act collapsed the individual health insurance market, leading our very progressive Democratic Governor to comment that “The Affordable Care Act is no longer affordable”. While, as a state, we had enjoyed relatively lower premiums than the national average, we have seen dramatic jumps the last few years (with many insurers dropping out of the market) until our rates were now higher than the national average.
How this happened is that under Obamacare, state-paid subsidies for poor households were eliminated. Instead, these costs were pushed onto other people in the individual market – only about 100K households in a state with millions of households. So while the State saved money, a small number of people (including us) picked up hundreds of millions in cost.
Thankfully, after watching this system grow progressives worse over the last two years, conservatives won the State Legislature and quickly worked with the Governor on a relief plan. The details are laid out in this article from our metro newspaper, but the headline is that we will now be getting a 25% discount on our premiums beginning immediately. The insurer will be paid back by the state from a $325M fund that they have set aside to provide relief.
Here is an updated look at our 2017 health insurance spending:
With the big jump in deductible, we are still facing a big potential increase in 2017, but our premium cost is now comparable with 2016. If we can stay healthy we may end up spending about the same as we spent last year, which would be a savings of about $4,500 compared to what we planned on playing during Open Enrollment.
Are your states also making accommodations for ACA cost increases in 2017?
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