Healthcare Changes Can Impact Those Insured in South Carolina

Obamacare premiums to rise for millions

Columbia, SC (WLTX) - Changes are coming to Obamacare that could impact your wallet. Some of the healthcare premiums are going up as Healthcare.gov opens for shopping.

But what will that mean for you? 

The premiums for mid-level plans will increase by an average of 25 percent. That plan is the benchmark  that regulators base tax credits on.

The Department of Heath and Human Services also says that more than one in five consumers using the site will only have one insurer to choose from.

While the rate is going up, officials say most people shopping on the federal exchange will pay less than $100 a month for premiums when tax credits are included.

Open enrollment will officially begin on November 1st. Those people who are looking for individual insurance with subsidies, or government assistance, will only see one provider available.

We asked local insurance agent Thomas H. Peacock why only Blue Cross Blue Shield remains on the market, and he said “because the claims are increasing, the carriers are losing substantial money in this market."

"There's a large shift that's going on,” says Peacock. "United Healthcare has announced that they are leaving South Carolina, you also have Blue Cross's Blue Choice that will no longer be participating in the exchange business, or subsidized business and you also have Coventry healthcare owned by Aetna, who is also announced that they are not going to be participating on the exchange."

That will have an effect on former plans.

"When you talk about Blue Cross being the only carrier that is participating in that subsidized market, you have to go to those physicians that Blue Cross has contracted within their network,” says Peacock.

For example, for those who get covered through the individual marketplace, Lexington Medical Center currently does not have an agreement with BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina.

Lexington Medical Center is. however, a network provider for all other BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina plans.

Peacock encourages people to go over their insurance plan with a local agent to see if there will be any changes to their coverage.

People can also get help enrolling through social workers at the Richland Library. That information can be found here. They provide appointments and can go step by step through the enrollment process.

The deadline for enrollment of the 2017 year is December 15th.
 


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