PHOENIX (KSAZ) - "You've got this crazy system where all of a sudden 25 million more people have health care, and then the people who are out there busting it, working 60 hours a week, wind up with their premiums doubled and their coverage cut in half, it's the craziest thing in the world."
It's a remarkable dig at "Obamacare" -- Democrat and former President Bill Clinton slammed the Affordable Care Act while speaking at a rally Monday night.
The Affordable Care Act has been in place for six years now and throughout the years, people in Arizona have had several options when it comes to healthcare providers -- but that's about to change. Nearly 60,000 people, enrolled in Obamacare in Maricopa County, will soon be left with just one provider.
These healthcare changes can be very confusing. If you live in Maricopa County and are enrolled in a Blue Cross Blue Shield individual or family plan in 2014 or later, your insurance is going to change. Centene will be your only option for full coverage -- a prospect that already has many people upset and frustrated.
A valley hair stylist is self-insured with Blue Cross Blue Shield. She just received a letter from the insurer, saying they'd no longer cover her in 2017.
"I was shocked that I only have two months to find out what I'm gonna do. Like, what is it exactly that I should do?"
"Angela," as we'll call her, is one of 60,000 Maricopa residents receiving the same letter. All purchased individual Blue Cross Blue Shield plans under the Affordable Care Act and come January, their only insurance option is a company called Centene.
"They were promised they could keep their plan, keep their doctor and that's not happening anymore," said Tony Martin of the Martin Insurance Company.
Martin, an insurance broker, says Centene has yet to release its premiums or policies. He doesn't expect a price surge for 2017, but says the cost could still be prohibitive.
"Some of these people.. their house payments are less than what their health insurance is and it's just devastating for those families especially," he said.
Martin says those receiving the letter have 4 choices:
- Enroll in Centene's Health Plan
- Enroll in a group plan through your current company. Independent Contractors can also try to organize as a group
- Enroll in a short-term major medical plan or a limited-benefit plan. These plans DON'T cover pre-existing conditions or prescriptions
- Go without health insurance and pay the penalty tax
In a marketplace turned monopoly, Angela is still deciding on what she'll do.
"People are going to be scrambling. They're not going to know what to do and this is our government that is doing this," she said.
If you enrolled in an individual Blue Cross Blue Shield before 2014 you will be grandfathered in and can keep your coverage. If you currently have an individual or family plan and live outside Maricopa county, you can still enroll in Blue Cross Blue Shield, but with a 51 percent premium increase. Open enrollment begins November 1st and February 28th.