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Kansas city loses insurance, not helped by Obamacare fix

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Chuck Ross Investigative Reporter

City employees in Bel Aire, Kansas are among the latest to lose their health insurance because it does not comply with the Affordable Care Act.

“We just received notice that the health-insurance coverage employees receive through Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) is no longer available. Everyone liked that plan which had very good benefits,” wrote city manager Ty Lasher Lasher in an email posted to Kansas Republican Rep. Mike Pompeo’s website.

Because their plans will not be grandfathered, the more than 30 city employees must now choose from more expensive options.

“All offer higher deductibles and the two closest to our old plan each cost more than what we were paying,” wrote Lasher.

In insurance plan documents obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation, in-network deductibles under the old plan were $500 for the covered individual and $1,000 for families. The replacement plan offered to city employees carries a $1,400/$2,800 split.

Out-of-pocket maximums would have also increased. Maximums under the old plan were $1,500 for the covered individual and $3,000 for the family. The new plan offered by Blue Cross Blue Shield carried a $2,800 individual maximum and a $5,600 family maximum.

Lasher has also noted that the city has fewer than 50 employees, so it no longer gets a group rate on its insurance.

Because of that limitation, individuals will be rated individually.  “We have some long-term employees who are older and seeing their rates double,” Lasher wrote..

“Governments typically pay a lower wage in exchange for better benefits.  Now, our health insurance benefits are being eroded which may lead to a larger turnover in employees,” Lasher continued.

A spokeswoman for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas explained the reasons for dropping Bel Aire employees’ coverage.

“Individual and small group non-grandfathered plans are going away because of not meeting the new requirements of the Affordable Care Act,” said Mary Beth Chambers.

“Therefore individuals in small groups that have the non-grandfathered plans will need to make some decisions as to picking a different plan,” said Chambers.

Chambers said she could not say just how many cities in Kansas are facing situations similar to Bel Aire.

“I can’t imagine Bel Aire is the only one going through this.”

On Thursday, President Obama offered a fix for the millions of others who’ve seen their insurance plans dropped due to non-compliance with Obamacare.

Obama offered to allow insurers to keep existing plans for another year. But the city of Bel Aire had already decided to switch insurers, making the president’s proposal a non-starter.

“It’s kind of late in the game at this point to try to go back and get that plan,” Bel Aire city administrator Michelle Meyer told TheDCNF in reaction to the president’s proposal. “I feel like we’re just delaying the problem for another year.”

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Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.