Future health insurance costs up in the air - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Future health insurance costs up in the air

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Toledo, OH -

While most of the focus on health care has been on signups this year, some think 2014 will be the year to watch.  Lots of employers and people with insurance will be looking at next year to see what their plans could look like the future.

Watching and waiting is what a lot of people are doing now.  They are waiting to see what the pool of insured people looks like.  If lots of healthy people will be entering the insurance marketplace, that would be ideal.  Costs would not be too high.  But if it's people who will require lots of medical attention that could affect everyone in the system.

What we do know here in 2013 is that you can go online and pick an insurance plan through the exchanges with the Affordable Care Act but moving forward there is more of a concern. 

"2014 is going to be the telling year for what to expect in the coming years," said Lisa Hawker, with Hylant.    

Hawker says for employers offering health insurance it's a changing world with one question.

"How are they going to offer a rich plan that allows their employees to have good strong coverage but yet that they can still handle the cost," said Hawker. 

She says companies are already seeing sometimes a 10% increase in cost.

"Whether it's a health insurer tax, or it is a reinsurance fee, many are being hit with those additional costs that they're not sure what that's going to mean for them in the future," said Hawker. 

So what does this all mean to people with health insurance through their employers already?  That's the unknown.  Costs are increasing and employers don't know what insurance will cost them next year.  They'll be facing the pay or play decision.

"Do I pay a penalty and not offer coverage and allow my employees to go into the exchange or do I continue to offer quality health care coverage for my employees?" said Hawker.  "They don't want to drop coverage is what we're hearing from our clients.  They really want to keep what they can for their employees." 

Some employers have renewed their policy early, doing it this year instead of seeing what happens next year.  Good for now but could mean a big surprise in 2015.

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