New America Media, News Report
SAN FRANCISCO – When Alemaz Belay got a letter from Blue Shield of California last month, notifying her that her health care policy would no longer be effective come Jan. 1, 2014 “due to new requirements for health coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA),” and that her premium was going to increase, she was understandably upset.
“I thought the (health reform law) was going to make health care more affordable and not more expensive,” said Belay, 57, an Ethiopian-born single mother of three in the San Francisco Bay area.
One of the promises President Obama made when signing the health reform bill into law was that people who liked their doctor and health care plan would be able to keep them.
Belay (who declined to use her real name for privacy reasons ) said Blue Shield notified her that her premium was going to increase from the current $402 to $586 a month. Her deductible would be twice what she is paying now, $3,500.
Belay is among some 120,000 Blue Shield customers — which represent about 60 percent of its individual market — who received such a letter in recent weeks. Other insurance companies have cancelled policies, telling their customers that their existing policies fall short of the 10 “essential health benefits” the ACA requires all plans to include beginning Jan.1, 2014, the day the health care law is fully implemented. Kaiser Permanente in California has sent notices to 160,000 of its customers who have individual plans, according to Kaiser Health News.
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