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Rising health insurance costs are a growing worry for aging people, early retirees

By in Press Enterprise on November 2, 2017

By California Healthline

By Steven Findlay and Pauline Bartolone, California Healthline

Yvonne Read is getting ready to “get slammed” by another health premium increase.

Read, 53, pays more than $2,100 a month for a Covered California family health plan that covers her 57-year-old husband and two young adult children. For next year, the Nevada City, Calif., resident says the premium will go up about $200 a month.

She and her family will have to absorb all of that increase, because their income is too high to qualify for federal premium assistance.

“We’re in that middle bracket that doesn’t get any help,” Read said.

“What do you do? My husband is going to need two surgeries next year,” she said, so it wouldn’t make sense to move to a plan with a lower premium and higher out-of-pocket expenses.

The family will have to adjust by giving their son less for his college expenses, taking longer to pay off bills or putting less in savings, she said.

It’s a dilemma faced by many older Americans who don’t yet qualify for Medicare but also may not make the cut for the Affordable Care Act’s subsidies to help pay for insurance for people who don’t get it through work or the government. Their access to health benefits is threatened by rising premiums and deductibles, recent actions by the Trump administration and unceasing political fights over the law.
Don and Debra Clark of Springfield, Mo., are glad to have health insurance. Don, 56, and Debra, 58, say they know the risk of an unexpected illness or medical event grows as they age, so they must have coverage.

Don is retired and Debra works part time a couple of days a week. As a result, along with about 20 million other Americans, they buy health insurance in the individual market — the one significantly altered by Obamacare.

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