PORTLAND, Ore. -- Pay more, get less.
It’s not exactly a recipe for customer satisfaction, but that’s just what Americans who get their insurance coverage through the Obamacare website will likely experience this year.
“Rates are up more than I’ve seen them in 21 years,” said Sue Ober, an insurance broker in Hillsboro. A survey by the consumer group OSPIRG found that rates for Obamacare plans in Oregon are going up an average of 14 to 32 percent.
Open enrollment for the those who purchase insurance through the health insurance marketplace, Healthcare.gov, began November 1. People have until December 15 to sign up in order to have coverage on January 1.
At Ober’s office, she helped her temporary employee, Mary Mareina, navigate the website. It was a frustrating process; the site is jammed, with millions of people looking to sign up.
Mareina tried to log in after waiting 5 minutes.
“I had to sit on a waiting screen before it would even take me to a login screen,” she said. Then, Mareina learned she needed to update her password, so she jumped back out to get organized. Then, she had to wait 15 minutes to get back on.
There is a silver lining to the rate hikes: subsidies (which 84 percent of Obamacare users receive) will also increase, often covering the difference.
Ober said the new products often have limited networks, with big penalties for those who want to use a doctor or hospital outside the network. “If you got out of network, your out of pocket increases exponentially,” said Ober.
Experts say using an experienced insurance broker like Ober is a great way to get help navigating the system.
Mareina said she loves her health plan and wants to keep it, she just hopes the price increase for 2017 is reasonable