Open Enrollment begins: What consumers need to know about the premium increase

HATTIESBURG, Miss (WHLT) – Last week we learned there would be an increase in health insurance premiums for many people enrolled under the Affordable Care Act commonly called ‘Obamacare.’

“You’re gonna see higher out of pockets; you’re gonna see an increase in the premiums.”

That’s the case for individuals that don’t have insurance through their employer, explains Michelle Fuller, Vice President and Employee Benefit Advisor at Bancorp South Insurance Services.

According to State Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney, over 60,000 people have signed up for coverage through healthcare.gov, but the cost will rise, “Those that are buying policies through BlueCross BlueShield of Mississippi or on the Marketplace,” adds Fuller.

Fuller said premiums are increasing because consumers drive the cost, insurance companies are shelling out more money.
Fuller said costs have been rising since 2010 because more people are using healthcare, a good thing, but someone has to pay for it.

“You’ve got a bucket of claims coming in, and those premium dollars have got to support that, and the insurance companies are not in this…not for profit companies. They have to make income also; they have to pay people, and they have utility bills as well. So you have to have enough revenue in to pay for all those claims,” adds Fuller.

And for those looking for insurance during the upcoming enrollment, you’ve got two options, “You can not be in the Marketplace and buy directly from BlueCross BlueShield starting November 1st when open enrollment starts, or you can go to the Marketplace, and buy a policy.”

For people that qualify for subsidies, premium costs could decrease. But according to Insurance Commissioner Chaney around 350,000 are still uninsured, “The penalties continue to go up, so it’s either a flat dollar amount. This year it’s $695 per person or 2.5 percent of your household income so that could be up to, I think a maximum of $2,000, per family,” said Fuller.

We’re told individuals and families could see premiums double, but Fuller says regular check-ups can bring out of pocket costs down long term,allowing doctors the chance to catch illnesses earlier potentially.

Log onto healthcare.gov to learn more about the healthcare options.

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