From young families to retired couples, Stanislaus County residents are reporting some staggering increases in the cost of their health insurance policies.
“Ridiculous,” is how Brandon Graham describes the new premiums he’s being told he will have to start paying Jan. 1. The 29-year-old Modesto father said he has been paying $170 a month to cover his 2-year-old son and himself through HealthNet. The insurance company notified him a couple of weeks ago that his plan is ending Dec. 31.
The new plan Graham is being offered will cost $361 per month – that’s a 112 percent increase. And the new policy will require him to pay a significantly higher deductible, along with higher co-pays for medical services.
“I’ve called other insurance companies, but everywhere I go it’s the same,” Graham said. “This is not what we were told” would happen with the Affordable Care Act.
Graham is not looking forward to paying more for insurance that doesn’t cover as much.
“We’re just kind of middle-class people,” said Graham, but he fears the extra health care expense could “push us into the lower middle class.”
Dave and Patti Anderson of Hughson also are upset about how much so-called Obamacare will cost them. Dave Anderson, 56, retired from the Stockton police force after 28 years of service. Stockton was supposed to pay for his medical insurance after retirement, but the city filed for bankruptcy last year and he was forced to buy his own coverage.
The Andersons’ policy through Anthem Blue Cross costs $560 per month. Last week, he was told his premium will jump to $986 per month starting Jan. 1. That’s a 76 percent increase.
“What I’m being rolled over into is the Bronze plan,” Anderson said, referring to the metal coding system used to describe the plans being offered. He’s told his current insurance is more like what’s offered under the Silver plan, so the new coverage will be more expensive but not cover as much.
Anderson has called around trying to find a better deal, but hasn’t found one. He said insurance brokers are telling him, “You have no options.” Anderson doesn’t understand why there’s no competition among the insurers and why there are no better options for healthy people like him.
“I run 25 miles a week. I don’t smoke. I don’t drink, and I never have,” Anderson said. He will have to pay full price for his coverage because his retirement income is too high to qualify him for a government subsidy.
The Bee asked its Facebook readers to tell us how their insurance policies are changing.
Here’s a sampling of the comments they posted online: