CHICAGO – ObamaCare users in Illinois can expect to see their insurance premiums skyrocket by up to 43 percent next year, according to projections released this week by the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS).
"It’s the worst of both worlds because we have less choice and we have more cost,” said David Taber, who’s currently paying about $1,500 per month for ObamaCare for himself, his wife and their young child.
Taber said the expected healthcare rate increases are scary but he’s more frustrated that he keeps paying more for less.
"It is more about having access to the doctors that we want and the hospitals that we want and the treatment that we want and we don't have those choices anymore,” Taber said.
Tony Dreyfuss is the owner of Metropolis Coffee Company in Chicago. He employs about 50 workers. He says small businesses can’t bear to pay another whopping ObamaCare increase.
"Whether we choose to raise prices or we make cuts in other areas of the company, one way or the other we'd have to find the money for it,” Dreyfuss said. “We compete against national coffee companies all day long, if we have to raise prices how does that compete against a national coffee company that doesn’t?
According to the CMS report, consumers in 39 states have seen individual premiums increase by more than 100 percent since the 2013 ObamaCare rollout.
Health insurance providers in Illinois cite a few reasons for the rate increases: High usage, lots of people using the exchange and submitting big claims; Washington uncertainty—so far no ObamaCare replacement as promised by Republicans; the possibility the president will end the individual mandate and federal subsidies and a general increase in medical and prescription drug costs.
Despite the failing system, Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin, a Democrat, demands that Republicans abandon plans to end ObamaCare.
"We need to say to President Trump, ‘Work with us, not against us. Don't sabotage the system, join us in saving the system,’” Durbin said.
The Illinois Department of Insurance says there’s no question flaws in the Affordable Care Act are contributing to higher rates. However, it promises customers next year's increase will average out to be slightly less than last year's and Illinois users still have multiple providers to choose from.
ObamaCare users like Taber say it’s time to put down the partisanship and figure something out for the American people.
“The amount of political energy spent on this over the last year, seven years, has been exceptional and we have a broken system,” Taber said. “So I would ask our elected representatives to do the work we sent them to do and I would ask them to fix it.”