President Obama promised that the Affordable Care Act would be just that: affordable and provide health care. In the past few months, neither has proven true, as millions of Americans have been dropped from their policies or can’t afford their increased cost. WTAE Pennsylvania, a local ABC affiliate, recorded one business’s reaction to its new premiums.
WTAE reporters visited Simonetta Collision and Car Care in McKeesport, Pennsylvania, a part of the Pittsburgh metro area, on the day employees were to find out what their new health insurance premiums for the year would cost. The employees ranged from single to middle-aged, from working mothers to younger auto care professionals, and all were faced on camera for the first time with increased health insurance costs thanks to the passing of the Affordable Care Act.
The employees had seen a 6% increase in premiums in the past year only to discover on this day that the cost would more than quintuple to 32% because of the implementation of the ACA. Those with children found their deductibles double to $4,000, and co-payments for medical visits doubled as well. Women saw their monthly payments increase more than the men, one of which reported that his monthly payments would actually decrease, but the new deductible was so high that he could not afford to get sick.
“This is a house payment for most people,” one employee lamented. “I don’t know how President Obama thinks he is helping us.”
The report gives Americans a window into something occurring in the offices of millions of small businesses as they discover that their insurance plans are suddenly unmanageable, as are those of their employees. Beginning in the month of October, when the ACA was put into effect, one report put the number of lost insurance plans at 1.5 million. As of this week, only one third of those losing their insurance in California have regained it, with similar figures nationwide.
Nonetheless, President Obama boasted in his State of the Union address Tuesday that nine million Americans had insurance now thanks to Obamacare (a misleading and regularly debunked number that lumps Medicaid/Medicare applications and state exchange applications in with those signing up on the highly flawed HealthCare.gov).
Simonetta’s owner Gary Simonetta was not immune from the new, disturbingly high payments. His insurance plan’s monthly payments increased by 63% thanks to the Affordable Care Act. One employee, a single man named Jeff who also reports he now does not know how he will pay his insurance, lamented that the new payments were “unacceptable.”
As insurance companies continue to settle their claims in the aftermath of Obamacare, one can expect an avalanche of such stories of struggle in the wake of American small businesses shouldering this new burden.
Watch the WTAE report below: