Self-insured forced to look for new coverage under Affordable Care Act

By Alyssa Donovan

November 11, 2013 Updated Nov 11, 2013 at 11:38 AM CDT

Thousands of people in Central Illinois and around the country are being told they cannot renew their current insurance policies under the Affordable Care Act.

People who are self-insured are receiving letters from their insurance companies stating that their current plan does not meet the minimum standards required under the ACA.

"I got a letter last month that said because I don't meet the minimum coverage amount that the government has set I can keep what I have and incur a $95 tax penalty or I have to change my coverage,” said Melida Heien who is self-insured.

Heiens’ story is not uncommon.

Thousands nationwide have received similar letters. Experts say between 50 and 70 percent of consumers who buy insurance individually can expect a cancellation letter from their provider within the next year.

"Most of the companies have mapped the customer to a plan that is similar to what they had,” said Insurance agent Geraldine Winter.

Winter says the prices of the new options can be a little shocking.

"They are not pretty. They are double. I think young people are having quite a shock because they are used to paying the least amount because they are the healthiest,” said Winter.

"I'm disappointed that this whole thing hasn't been clear I thought I was doing the right thing I have insurance isn't that the whole basic premise of this?"

Heien says she really can't afford the new plans she's considering just paying the tax deductible and keeping her current coverage.

"If it makes more sense to incur the penalty than that's what I'll do. And if that's what other people do maybe that will send a message to the government that thanks for trying but it's not working,” Heien said.

Heien says her next step is consulting with a health insurance agent.