New Wave of Obamacare Price Hikes Arrives

Regina Weinhardt handles benefits for her family’s plumbing business in Delaware County. In business since 1962, providing health care to their employees has always been a priority, “My father started his business and prided himself on offering health care. Now I feel like we are being punished for doing the right thing.

While Obamacare advocates breathe a sigh of relief because Saturday’s relaunch of went relatively smoothly, the law is still harming rather than helping Americans. And the website is still far from perfect—many seeking to re-enroll ran into issues as documented by the New York Times. But apart from the health care exchange, many individuals and employers like Weinhardt are facing Obamacare’s labyrinth of regulations and price hikes for the first time.

This is the first year Weinhardt’s small business had to deal with ACA regulations since they renewed their current plan in December of 2013, a month before new regulations kicked in. If Weinhardt had stayed with their old insurance carrier they would have been hit with an 80 percent increase.

Instead, she worked with an insurance broker to find an Independent Blue Cross plan with a slightly less dramatic 23 percent increase.

Weinhardt’s company pays the entire premiums for their basic plan, so any increase in the premium is completely shouldered by the business.

But her employees are still dealing with higher costs through soaring deductibles. This year their basic plan’s deductible more than doubled from $1,500 to $5,000 for an individual and rocketed from $3,000 to $10,000 for a family.

When she broke the news to her employees they were “worked up,” she said. “Some of my guys can no longer afford to buy up to more generous plans. Everything went up, premiums, co-pays, deductibles. This law is topsy-turvy, it’s upside down.”

Asked what the business has to sacrifice for rising health care costs, Weinhardt explains that she’d like to give her employees higher rates, pay her suppliers on time and contribute more to a 401K plan she started last year. “There are so many things we could do, but I would never stop offering health care, ever.”

Weinhardt wants to see real health reform where people pay for the care they use. “Most of my guys are young and single, they don’t need maternity care or pediatric dental care—they’ll never use it.”

Getting rid of mandates like pediatric dental or maternity care for all is one way to drive down costs for businesses and individuals on the exchange. Learn more about real health care reform solutions and hear more stories like Weinhardt’s here.