Affordable Care Act rate increases could impact Kansans

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WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – In less than a week you’ll be able to enroll in the Affordable Care Act for health care.

However, rates are going up this year.  KSN first told you about some sharp increases earlier this week.

On Monday, federal regulators opened Healthcare.gov for consumers to begin browsing for plans.

This came after they announced that rates will be up 25 percent nationwide for the plans for which tax subsidies are calculated.

Experts say they are expecting even higher increases in Kansas, up to around 46 percent.

Juven Nava has been a Certified Health Exchange Navigator at GraceMed since the Affordable Care Act went into place four years ago.

Nava says he helped enroll more than 2,000 people last year for Obamacare.

All of those he helped enroll, Nava say, have low incomes making them eligible for subsidies, or tax credits with their plans.

“If there is an increase on health insurance plans, then those 80 percent of individuals are going to receive an increase on their subsidy as well,” said Nava.

The other 20 percent of people who will be impacted by the rate hike are those with higher incomes.  For example, a person making more than $30,000 dollars a year.

“It’s those individuals who it affects the most because they don’t have any other option, unfortunately they are still left without insurance and paying for things out of their own pocket,” said Nava.

In Kansas, that 20 percent includes the 49,000 Kansans that are stuck in a coverage gap.

They don’t make enough to qualify for subsidies, but make too much to qualify for Medicaid.

“Those individuals that don’t have health insurance that would qualify for Medicaid if the state had expanded, then yes they wouldn’t be in the situation that they would be and that’s why we as advocates are really pushing for Medicaid expansion in the state of Kansas,” said Nava.

The other option is to pay the penalty cost, which doesn’t come cheap.

Nava says the penalty cost for one adult is $695 a year, another $347 for a child

The maximum penalty cost for a family is over $2,000.

The Kansas open enrollment for the health insurance exchange starts next week.

It runs from November 1st through January 31st.

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