CHICAGO - Late Thursday, BlueCross BlueShield of Illinois released its Obamacare-compliant small group health plans for 2014 renewals that include reducing the number of HMOs and more than doubling co-payments for emergency room treatment.
Joliet-area health insurance broker Steve Orlando said the new plans for companies with less than 50 employees will require clients to pay higher out-of-pocket health care costs.
"Looking at the new plans, BlueCross BlueShield is dramatically going to raise emergency room copays from $150 to in most cases $400, and raise doctor and specialist copays in some instances. They are adding a co-pay for being admitted to the hospital ($150, $200 or $250), as well as adding a copay for outpatient surgery ($100, $150 or $200)."
In addition, Orlando said, BlueCross BlueShield is creating a new 5=tier prescription drug benefit that includes $100 and $150 copayments for a 30 day non-formulary brand name prescription, up from the current cost of $50 or $60.
The new plans will also limit HMO choices. BlueCross is reducing the number of HMOs available to a total of four, three of which include an unprecedented $2000, $5000 and $6000 deductibles respectively, Orlando said.
These higher costs to his clients didn't set well with Orlando, who immediately called his Congressman's office to complain.
"With this knowledge, I contacted the Joliet district office of Congressman Bill Foster to 'thank' him for his responsibility in raising insurance rates, deductibles, out of pocket costs and co-payments for Illinois families," Orlando said.
He also reached out to Congressman Roskam and Senator Kirk's office to support the effort to defund Obamacare.
"What makes me so livid about this is that this is no accident, it's by design," Orlando said. "What's it going to take to get the average voter to wake up?"