Questioning Affordable Care Act's affordability

By: Julie Calhoun Email
By: Julie Calhoun Email

Friday, March 28th, 2014

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- Kala is a 20-year-old student who also supports herself, and she says her income can't support health-care. She can't even afford the Affordable Care Act.

"To be honest I don't have the money for it every month. I work part time at a restaurant so that doesn't allow for a lot of extra money," said Kala Linaweaver.

Even though the deadline is days away, Kala says she's not going to sign up because it's cheaper for her to pay the $95 or 1 percent penalty.

"Until the penalty is going to exceed the cost of insurance for the year I'm just going to pay the penalty," said Linaweaver.

Kala like many young people aren't getting insurance, and while they'll get a penalty it can also hurt those who did sign up.

"We need those people to enroll because if we end up with a pool of people that's older and sicker that drives up the rates for everybody," said Russell Head.

If you're 20 years old in Georgia and get the basic plan it will cost you about 86 dollars a month. Once you hit 23, it costs $135 and when you get to be 27 and you can't stay on your parents insurance it jumps up to almost $150 a month.

Again, Kala's fine, a one time fee of $95.

"Prior to healthcare reform all day long we could write people on a very similar policy for 50 to 60 dollars a month so that rate has actually doubled or tripled," said Head.

Another factor that will effect your rate is your region.

Those of you in South Carolina will pay a little more than those of you in Georgia.

The basic plan for a 20 year old in the Palmetto state is 127 dollars. If you're 23, it will cost you $200 and goes up to $210 once you're 27.

"Over 30 percent just because I live in South Carolina versus Georgia. That's a pretty big number when you start adding that up," said Head.

Kala is studying hard and hopes that once she finished school she'll get a good job with insurance but as of now she's still not buying it.

Rates in Augusta are not as high as some neighboring cities. The two most expensive places in the country are actually in Georgia. Columbus, Albany and Valdosta have the highest rates.

The penalty won't always be $95. The fine goes up every year. Next year, it jumps to $325 per adult or $975 a family. In 2015, it's expected to go up again.

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