Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

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October 11, 2013

Changes could cause rate increases

Affordable Care Act may prompt employers to rethink coverage.

[Editor’s note: With significant portions of the Affordable Care Act to be implemented starting Jan. 1, 2014, the Kokomo Tribune is running a series that explores how the personal responsibility mandate, the expansion of Medicaid and the new health exchanges will affect consumers.]

Q: If my employer already provides health insurance, why might my premiums go up or my coverage change as a result of the Affordable Care Act? Why would my employer change my plan, especially since I am satisfied with it?

A: Health insurance premiums could increase because of several mandates in the Affordable Care Act, including coverage for people with pre-existing medical conditions and the ending of lifetime limits.

“Your premiums could go up if the insurance company raises the costs of premiums or your employer changes what your plan covers,” Kathy Young, CEO of St. Joseph Hospital, said. “The good news is the Affordable Care Act contains a provision called Rate Review which is intended to protect consumers from unreasonable rate increases.”

Health insurance coverage may change as a result of the ACA because the legislation has a number of consumer protections, she said.

Those include: ending of lifetime limits on coverage; ending arbitrary cancellations of health coverage; and coverage of adult children up to age 26.

“Your employer may change your plan for any number of reasons, including adjusting the coverage options to better meet the needs of the majority of employees or to save money,” Young said.

Craig Dunn, a financial planner with Liberty Financial, said changes could be a result of some of the mandates of the ACA.

“Your employer might change your plan because the current plan is too expensive,” he said. “They might also change the plan because it provides too much coverage and will result in a penalty from the government.”

Dunn said the employer is likely to pass on any additional costs for providing health insurance to their employees.

Readers can submit their questions on the Affordable Care Act to Enterprise Editor Ken de la Bastide at ken.delabastide@kokomotribune.com or by mailing them to Kokomo Tribune, care of Ken de la Bastide, 300 North Union St., Kokomo, IN 46901.

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