Claim: Alabama mom's Obamacare horror story gives America a glimpse of government run healthcare.
Example: [Collected on the Internet, December 2013]
On October, 1, 2013 we received our letters like other Alabamians about our new premiums and plans for 2014 from Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) of Alabama. When I opened our letter to say I had sticker shock was an understatement. Our premiums for the Blue Saver Silver would now be $753.26. This included the ACA tax but did not include the additional $75.00 we would need to pay in order to keep dental for me and my husband. So we would need to pay total $828.26 to keep health and dental insurance for the four of us. This payment is roughly $64.00 less than what we pay for our mortgage each month. I was outraged that anyone thought we could afford this. Sure we have some savings, but with that price tag we would whittle it down to almost nothing very quickly. I consider savings as a rainy day fund, a start to saving for the kid’s college, our retirement, etc. I never dreamed in a million years we would need to use it to pay our insurance premiums each month — how in the world could this help the economy too?
[Rest of article here.]
Origins: The item referenced above, an open detailing one Alabama woman's extreme difficulty and frustration in obtaining ACA-compliant health insurance coverage for her family (including her 7-year-old son with ADHD) was posted under the name of Karri Kinder on
Certainly her experience is not unique in kind, as many residents of Alabama covered by Blue Cross and Blue Shield (BCBS) of Alabama (an insurer who has an 88% share of the state's health insurance market) found out at the end of 2013 that they would be paying much higher premiums for ACA-compliant coverage through BCBS:
"I just got my benefits renewal from Blue Cross for next year and they doubled my rate!" he wrote AL.com in an email. "I was paying $675 for a family premium
"It appears as though Blue Cross is taking advantage of the ACA by hiking rates big time," said Hoffman, who is based in Birmingham with Enroll Alabama.
Others, who have received the notices from the state's dominant health insurer are mad as well — at Obamacare.
"Obama thinks that he is making insurance affordable," wrote one reader to the Mobile Press Register Sound Off feature. "I just got a letter from my Blue Cross Blue Shield that if I want to keep their insurance it's going to cost me $300 more a month. I already pay $300 a month now and they're wanting right at $600 a month for this Affordable Care Act."
In the past Blue Cross was able to offer one family premium, no matter the size. For family plans, most family members will now be rated individually. Once each person has been rated, the amounts are added together to get a family's premium cost. For children age 20 and younger, the oldest three children will be individually rated and included in the family premium amount. As a result, larger families may experience higher premiums.
This means that those with expensive health problems will likely now jump in and buy coverage because it will be less expensive for them — or if they already have coverage — their rates will go down. But that also means rates will go up for everyone else as the insurer spreads that new cost around.
"The thing that happens when you eliminate underwriting is that you lump dissimilar people together," Morrisey said. "When you combine groups, one group is better off and the other group is worse off" — in terms of premium prices.
As a policy, the elimination of medical underwriting and preexisting condition clauses helps broaden access to health care coverage and that was the aim of its inclusion in the Affordable Care Act. Reformers say it eliminates insurers from "cherry-picking" and reduces uncompensated care.
Oliver, Mike. "In Wake of Obamacare, Why Are Some Getting Hit with Dramatic Premium Hikes?" AL.com. 10 October 2013. Oliver, Mike. "Blue Cross in Alabama: We Didn't 'Cancel' Health Policies." AL.com. 2 December 2013. Walsh, Alex. "Obamacare, Big Blue, and You." AL.com. 31 December 2013.