Locals report insurance rate increases

Published 12:22 am Friday, October 11, 2013

Only days after the launch of the online federal and state health exchanges that are key components to the healthcare act dubbed Obamacare, reports of rising insurance rates have already begun.

A hike in insurance rates is a concern across the nation as companies scramble to meet the requirements and fees associated with the “Patient Protection and the Affordable Health Care Act,” that was signed into law in 2010.

The effects are also visible in Covington County, where many residents have received word of rising costs for premiums from their insurers.

The Star-News asked locals if they had seen a rise in their insurance premiums.

Reed and Melissa Robbins reported a dramatic rise in their insurance costs.

“Ours is going from $369 to $763,” they responded via Facebook. “More than double.”

Tony Holmes also said his insurance costs are rising, reporting a 33 percent increase.

While many insurance customers are pointing to Obamacare as the culprit for their rising premiums, others say the problem is closer than Washington, D.C.

Stanley resident Andy Johnson said a lack of competition is to blame.

“There is only one company selling health insurance in Alabama: Blue Cross, Blue Shield,” Johnson said in a Facebook post. “No competition equals higher price.”

In a letter posted on Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama’s web site, CEO Terry D. Kellogg said the company is working to keep rates from going up.

“We will continue to comply with the Affordable Care Act and actively monitor regulations issued by the Department of Health and Human Services to determine how the law impacts premiums as well as eligibility, benefits and coverage for our healthcare plans,” Kellogg wrote. “We will continue to work with policymakers to modify provisions of the law that will increase health insurance premiums, such as the health insurance tax and restrictions on premium discounts for young adults.”

Requirements from the Affordable Care Act provisions are expected to continue to roll out through 2022. And while the uninsured are now able to shop around for insurance, the already insured may be avoiding their mailboxes as price increase statements continue to arrive.