Forgotten Voices: Paying too much


(NBC News) Imagine paying $4,000 a month for health insurance.

Some families insured through the Affordable Care Act are seeing their rates double or even triple with less than two weeks left to figure out what to do.

Beth and Samuel Daane got a huge shock when they tried to renew Affordable Care Act health insurance. Their family’s premium jumped from $1,200 to $4,000 per month.

“That’s three times, almost three times our mortgage,” Samuel says.

Ian Dixon’s premiums tripled to $3,000.

“I closed my laptop and walked away for a while. It just didn’t compute,” he says.

They all live near Charlottesville, Virginia, the city with the nation’s largest increase, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

It’s not just Charlottesville. Seven million working Americans who earn a little too much to qualify for subsidies may have to pay these massive increases out of pocket.

“They are over 400 percent above poverty, but they’re not, for the most part, millionaires…so they’re going to feel this increase,” says Karen Pollitz of the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Charlottesville’s only insurer says with Washington up in the air about mandates and subsidies, they’re charging more to cover their risk.

“Our message to Washington, D.C. lawmakers and policymakers can be summed up in one word: stabilize,” says Optima Health CEO Michael Dudley.

Lawmakers are trying to figure out what they can do to stabilize the market and reassure nervous insurance companies.

“If that can be done, that can bring rates down immediately by about ten percent,” says Virginia’s Senator Tim Kaine.

For now the Daanes are considering their options: Move to an area with cheaper insurance, quit work, or go part-time to qualify for subsidies.

“We don’t have an answer yet,” Beth Daane says.

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