Experts Say Changes To Health Insurance 'Inevitable' For Many - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

Experts Say Changes To Health Insurance 'Inevitable' For Many

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WMDT 47 NEWS - The questions, confusion, and frustration over Obamacare continues across the nation.

For the past few weeks, much of the discussion has surrounded problems with the federal website. Now, many of the 15.4 million people that have individual health care coverage, are getting notices from their insurance companies saying their plans will change or cancel.

While many of those affected did not see it coming, Chris Keen, an insurance agent with Keen Insurance Associates in Ocean City, Maryland, says it is something they knew almost six months after the law was passed.

"We've been preparing for it, we already sent letters to clients," says Keen.

Dr. Memo Diriker, Director of Business Economic and Community Outreach Network (BEACON) at Salisbury University agrees.

"It's not like we're suddenly discovering something we didn't know about, it's been there in black and white writing all along."

Yet for many people, it was not clear, which is why some are saying President Obama is contradicting his original pledge that promised Americans who like their coverage can keep it. According to experts, that pledge still stands true, but it is only for those who had an insurance policy in place before the Obamacare law passed on March 24, 2010.

Keen says this has happened with most of his clients. Now, they are forced to apply for the new health insurance that may include benefits they do not feel they need.

"Under the new law, to keep everything simple, everyone is going to have the same plan design, and will be paying for the same benefits," says Keen. "The premiums are covering more so it's going to be more expensive."

"It's a matter of making policies meet the higher standards required by the act," says Dr. Diriker.

However, in the long run, health insurance may not be more expensive for everyone. For a person who has an income on the lower end of the poverty scale, he or she may be able to qualify for a federal subsidy that will pay for the new plan.

"The premiums may have gone up by 30 percent but you may get a 50 percent subsidy, so it will actually cost you less," says Keen. "Somebody making less than $40,960 as a single person is going to qualify for a federal tax."

Keen says as long as a person knows what he or she will be making in 2014, all they have to do is contact a local insurance agent, and they should be able to determine whether or not the person will qualify for a federal tax in just a few minutes.

However, with the strong disagreement between Republicans and Democrats in the White House, many people have been unable to grasp just exactly what is going on.

"What we're hearing and what actually is happening is two different things," says Dr. Diriker. "Elected officials are making it hard."

To make it easier, Wicomico County is planning to make a video of Keen next month to explain the insurance that will run on public television.

"The problem is that people cannot explain it the right way," says Keen. "Some people are going to see a 30 percent increase, some will see 80 percent less. It's the law and the law is not changing."

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