When the Affordable Care Act was first passed, it was touted as a way to help Americans gain access to health insurance while also saving money. In
"The Health Insurance Marketplaces are expected to increase competition in the insurance market in rural areas -- especially in the 29, mostly rural states, where a single insurer currently dominates more than half the insurance market," it read.
Since its enactment, an estimated 20 million people have gained access to health insurance because of the Affordable Care Act, according to the
A choice of one
For independent contractor
"Our premiums have increased and the plans have gotten worse over the years," Morris said. "You handle it, but now we're stuck with this only option, according to my insurance agent, which doesn't cover my local hospital or the
Anthem did not issue an official statement on the matter.
While Morris has no desire to incur up to a
Paying the penalty "is better than ridiculous premiums and deductibles for zero local coverage," he said. "Still, being legally required to choose between purchasing insurance that has no local coverage or accept a financial penalty is borderline criminal."
Morris' situation is not unique when it comes to a lack of insurance options. According to the
What's the remedy?
One of the bigger talking points of President-elect
"This is one of the issues that played so big in the election," he said. "I would love to see repealing this be one of the first things that is done in the next
"What's really going to be interesting is next year, because as part of the ACA, Obama had come out and said that if you have a plan, you can keep it," he said. "So they allowed some of these plans that were purchased prior to
One option that healthy customers without pre-existing conditions could consider, according to Shook, is health share ministry plans, which are recognized in 30 states as distinct from health insurance organizations, thanks to safe harbor laws. Often faith-based, ministries do not use actuaries or make guarantees, but they pool funds together among members to pay for health expenses.
In the meantime, however, Morris continues to look ahead to next year with apprehension.
"We're talking about paying more for our health insurance than our own mortgage," he said.
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