Sticker shock: Health insurance costs nearly double for Boise man

Credit: KTVB

Joel Lund

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by Karen Zatkulak

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KTVB.COM

Posted on December 4, 2013 at 6:06 PM

Updated Thursday, Dec 5 at 7:36 AM

BOISE -- A small business owner in the Treasure Valley says the Affordable Care Act has made his family's health care coverage much more expensive.

In Idaho, insurance carries are now deciding whether to renew policies that don't meet requirements of the new law. However, a Boise man whose plan recently ended, says he is facing only unaffordable options.

After decades in the corporate world, Joel Lund recently decided to start his own business, a counseling company called Prepare For Rain.

The decision meant he would need his own health care coverage for his family. He was pleased with his private plan, but it ended in October, and now isn't offered under the new law.

"We're going to go from $770 a month which we were paying up until October, to about $1,300. I don't see how this helps," said Lund.

Lund says he was shocked to hear that the most comparable plan would cost almost double.

"From an emotional point of view, I don't think you can really prepare yourself for it," said Lund.

Lund says he's spent 20 hours a month researching plans, talking with his insurance agent, and attempting unsuccessfully to get into the online exchange.

He eventually ended up with a short term policy to get him through the end of the year.

"The unbelievable complexity of it, the lack of transparency of it, the horrific surprises," said Lund.

Insurance agent Jenna Ortiz says Lund's story is common.

"We have a lot of clients who are small business owners, so for them if their business is doing well, they don't get help but they're paying astronomical amounts for monthly premiums," said Oritz.

Oritz says most plans under the new law cost at least 20 percent more, if you don't qualify for a subsidy. She says while some of her clients have seen lower rates, many have seen the opposite.

"Yes and no, it is called the Affordable Care Act, we thought it would be a little more affordable," said Ortiz.

Lund is hoping his story will warn other local small business owners about the hike in premiums and the headaches in finding coverage.

"This isn't going to work out well at all, it will not be affordable, it will not help, it will be more complicated, and it's going to cause a lot of heartburn," said Lund.

Lund's short term policy, like most, doesn't cover prescriptions. He says he was shocked to learn the cost for one prescription would go from $10 under his previous plan to $454.

The insurance agent we talked to said so far, she has had eight clients successfully enroll in the exchange, but is still seeing major delays online almost daily.

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