Some find their health insurance plans unavailable
RALEIGH (WTVD) -- Many Triangles families never thought they'd need to use the Affordable Care Act's website. They have health insurance, or so they thought.
"I kind of feel duped a little bit because I mean we pay a lot of money and I feel like I just want to keep my plan," said Blue Cross customer Amanda LaRoque.
Healthcare overhaul outrage is on the menu at LaRoque's Raleigh bar that she's owned for a decade.
She and her husband buy their own health insurance plan from Blue Cross Blue Shield and were not expecting any changes when the Affordable Care Act took effect.
"Because the President and Congress constantly said if you have health insurance, you're not going to lose your health insurance," said LaRoque.
So LaRoque says she was floored last month when she got a letter from Blue Cross saying her current plan was not compliant with the ACA. It said if she wanted to stay covered, she'd have to change plans.
Unlike many others, the LaRoque's are not eligible for federal subsidies.
Blue Cross offered a cheaper monthly premium, but their deductibles and out-of-pocket costs would double.
Blue Cross Blue Shield Health Policy Analyst Barbara Morales Burke showed ABC11 the small flood of letters sent to customers over the last three years. She explained that if they liked their plan, and didn't make any changes after the ACA took effect, they would be grandfathered in.
"For those people who did have a grandfathered plan they got a version that said you have a grandfathered plan," said Burke. "You can keep it or make changes and you will no longer have a grandfathered plan."
"I personally have not made any changes," said LaRoque.
LaRoque insists she never altered her health plan, but admits she hasn't read all the Blue Cross mail that's come since the health care law passed.
"About a third of our members today have grandfathered plans," said LaRoque. "That tells me there were some people who read it. We can't read it for them though. All we can do is provide the best information."
LaRoque wants to shop around now, but hasn't had much luck with healthcare.gov.
However, if you're like the LaRoques and your income is too high to qualify for subsidies, you don't really need that website. Off-market exchanges offer eight different plans to North Carolinians. You can talk to an independent insurance agent for that.
north carolina news, local/state, joel brown
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