Anthem discontinues some health insurance plans for 2014

Boonville man says his premiums are set to nearly double

BOONVILLE, Mo. - Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield is discontinuing some health insurance plans because of new health care reform requirements starting next year.

In letters sent to certain plan holders, the company is recommending new policies to replace the ones that are discontinued.

Boonville business owner Vaughn Sell got his letter Saturday morning. It begins:

"Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield is discontinuing your individual health benefit plan because it does not meet all the requirements of the new health care reform laws (also called the Affordable Care Act)."

"Presently, I'm paying $215.23 per month for my health insurance premiums," Sell told ABC 17 News. "Because of the Affordable Care Act ... my new policy is going to be $523.33."

Facing a monthly premium nearly double what he currently pays, Sell has started looking for other options. Starting next year, he would pay nearly $6,500 for health insurance.

"There's a lot of people going to be disappointed with the "Affordable" part of the Care Act," he said.

Sell said Tuesday his insurance broker does not know enough about the marketplace or about other plans yet. One option is to fall back on his veterans benefits at the Truman VA.

Anthem acknowledged the changes in a statement to ABC 17 News Tuesday afternoon.

Deb Wiethop, public relations director, wrote:

"The new requirements for the Affordable Care Act provide for new compliant policies with comprehensive benefits. Regrettably some of our individual plans do not comply with the ACA and as such we will need to discontinue these plans.

The new requirements for the ACA provide for new compliant policies with comprehensive benefits. These new policies include services such as emergency care, hospital stays, maternity and newborn care, prescription drugs and preventive care.

The impact of the ACA will vary widely. For example, many moderate- and low-income consumers will pay less for the health insurance they purchase through the exchange.  On the exchange, financial help will be available for those people who make up to about $45,000 a year and for families of four who make up to about $92,000 a year.

Also, individuals who don't qualify for the subsidies may pay more for coverage. Older individuals are expected to pay less, while younger consumers will likely pay more.

Health insurance premium rates change periodically to reflect general medical costs and other factors. It's important to note, Anthem complies with applicable state and federal laws regarding rate adjustments and notifications and will provide members proper notification of any rate adjustments in the future."

Sell said he had started to hear from other friends and from his broker that the Anthem letters were starting to be delivered this week.

He does not plan to continue using Anthem if he cannot get a lower policy rate starting January 1.

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