Insurance Rates May Increase With New Health Insurance Exchange

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COLUMBIA - Numbers released by the federal government show that Missourians will have fewer choices when it comes to health care policies under the Affordable Care Act.

The exchange, which will begin October 1st, will be run by the federal government. It will include four categories based on cost, bronze, silver, gold and platinum.

Collin McCarty, owner of Collin McCarty Insurance and Investment, is preparing for the many changes the health insurance exchange will bring. He says his clients may be a little more limited when it comes to choosing an insurance company.

"It certainly looks like there won't be as many carriers, when I say carriers, I mean insurance companies that are going to be participating in the exchange," said McCarty.

Insurance companies can do a group exchange or participate in the federal program. In a group exchange, the insurance is provided by an employer.

Some insurance companies will be excluded from the exchange. A complete list of companies has not been released, but Anthem BlueCross BlueShield is one company that will be included in the exchange. McCarty says fewer options for insurance policies mean less competition.

"I think the rates are going to go up a lot so...people who do pretty well making decent money and are younger, they could be in a pickle here, because their rates are going to go up a lot and they may not qualify for any subsidy," McCarty said.

According to the Department of Health and Human Services, a family of four with a $50,000 income can expect premiums of $798 under the silver plan, but that cost could be $282 a month with subsidies.

The Health Insurance Marketplace web page says, "When you get health insurance coverage in the Marketplace, you may be able to get lower costs on monthly premiums. This depends on your income and family size."

The subsidy calculator will estimate the cost of insurance premiums and subsidies based on location, income and family size.