Four Years Later, Texans Are Still Searching For Stability With Obamacare

“We need both the stick and the carrot and a lot of folks think neither one is strong enough.”

By Lauren SilvermanNovember 2, 2016 9:42 am, , , ,

From KERA News

President Obama may be leaving office, but his landmark healthcare legislation is still law of the land. Enrollment for the fourth year under the Affordable Care Act began on Tuesday. We traced Obamacare in Texas through the story of one family.

Before Obamacare, Bob Flood and his wife, Amy, were spending a fortune on health insurance: $3,000 a month. Because Bob had a previous cancer diagnosis, that was the only option for them and their older son. Under the Affordable Care Act, they found an Aetna plan through the marketplace for less than half of that each month.

“We were paying about $1,200 for all of us, and I was extremely happy,” Flood says.

It didn’t take long for that euphoria to fade. Even though more than a million Texans signed up for coverage last year, health insurers say they’re losing more money than they expected, raising premiums and dropping out of the marketplace altogether. That’s shaken people like Bob Flood two ways: first, price increases.

“We’re paying more than double what we were playing back then,” Flood says.

Fast-rising health care costs isn’t new, that’s been the trend for decades. Also, while the “benchmark plan” premium price has gone up, the increase in Texas – 18 percent — is lower than the national average of 22 percent. Dallas County will see an even lower rate increase: 7 percent. The increase in Dallas is lower than in Austin, San Antonio, Houston and El Paso.

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