by Michael Lowrey
We have a very broken healthcare insurance system. From the Charlotte Observer:
Aetna’s decision to pull out of North Carolina leaves essentially one insurer – Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, which offers policies in all 100 counties.
UnitedHealthcare announced in April that it would leave the state’s marketplace after experiencing losses connected with policies sold through the Affordable Care Act.
Blue Cross has also indicated it’s weighing whether to continue selling policies under the ACA. “We are assessing operational and business impacts of this decision by Aetna,” Blue Cross said Tuesday. “We have not made a final decision of our continued participation until the answers to these questions are known.”
Oh, and this:
[Michael Sheffield, who owns a Gastonia insurance brokerage] said the loss of insurance options is “a serious thing for our state. I wish that this whole process had been better planned.”
He said families with incomes of $25,000 to $30,000 a year “are getting left out.” Even if they qualify for subsidies, the insurance plans they can afford have such high deductibles that “they still can’t afford what’s being offered.”
For example, he sold a policy with a premium of $1,200 per month, but after the subsidy, the customer paid $52 a month. The policy had a $5,000 deductible, so each time the customer went to the doctor, until he met the high deductible, he would have had to pay the full price.
“He said, ‘I’ve got to pay $52 a month and I still can’t go to the doctor?’ And we the taxpayers were fortunate enough to pay $1,150 a month (the subsidy) for a man to get insurance but he couldn’t even go to the doctor. … That is ridiculous,” Sheffield said.