Posted: Oct 4, 2013 10:04 PM by Victoria Fregoso - MTN News
BILLINGS - The new Health Insurance Marketplace opened Tuesday allowing people to sign up for the new Affordable Care Act or Obamacare, as it is also known.
But some people who already have insurance, are not satisfied.
One woman whose insurance rate will go up by more than $200 per month, from January 1st, feels this is a form of punishment to make insurance affordable to others.
But state insurance officials say that's not the case.
Susan Clark was a bit surprised when she opened a recent letter from her health insurance provider.
Come January 1st, she'll have to pay an additional $218 a month to maintain a policy, similar to the one she has now.
Clark said, "To squeeze an extra $200 out of anyone's budget is a significant impact. And to just do that for health insurance that our leaders in Washington D.C. have decided that we need to have is, I feel, very damaging."
A letter from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Montana explains this change is a result of the Affordable Care Act.
And the company has designed new plans to ensure all members benefit from the new law.
"I believe the President promised that insurance rates wouldn't go up. He was incorrect. And insurance rates are going up," Clark said.
Her other option is to raise her deductible from $6,000 to $10,000 in order to keep her monthly insurance bill at the same rate.
So instead of taking the $200 monthly hit, she's decided to take the other option.
The Montana Commissioner of Securities and Insurance's chief legal counsel says, health insurance hikes cannot be pinned on the Affordable Care Act.
Jesse Laslovich says it's part of ever-increasing insurance rates.
"There are so many factors that go into it and the biggest one that drives it is not health reform, it's not the various laws that are on the books, it's medical costs. And until we get a handle on medical costs, we're going to consistently be seeing rising premiums," Laslovich said.
One insurance expert tells us he can't tell if the rate increase comes from the Affordable Care Act or if it's just the standard yearly increase.
And although Clark says she expected some kind of an increase, she definitely did not expect this.
She said, "I think some voices need to be heard from the American people, that this isn't all it was cracked up to be. The President was, I don't want to say he was lying, but he was very incorrect."
For now, Clark says she's contacting Montana Senators and Representatives to make her voice heard.
Blue Cross Blue Shield says it is now contacting other members to tell them their current plans will no longer exist after December 31st.