Valley residents using Covered California insurance will soon have to pay more

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- In just a couple months, health care costs for many people will be going up. This week the Obama administration announced premiums for health care plans created under the Affordable Care Act will rise substantially next year

California's state health insurance exchange, Covered California, announced premiums would go up by an average of 13.2-percent statewide in 2017.

The news hit hard for Maida Hekimin. She owns a hair salon in Northwest Fresno. It's right across from the insurance company that sold her Covered California health insurance plan. A plan she said has gotten too costly.

"I believe it's going to be 1,700 to 1,800 and I think this time nobody is going to be able to accept us. It's a disaster, it's a way to kill people."

In 2015, statewide insurance rates were at 4.2-percent. This year, the average was about 4-percent.

The hike, which has now more than tripled, has left insurance agent Adam Paul with a lot of concerned clients wanting to know how to keep their plan affordable. He said that all depends on what your health needs are.

"If you have any particular health need like diabetes medication or maybe you're having surgery soon you may want to keep your richer plan, but if you want to keep it at a lower cost we recommend you downgrade to a bronze plan."

In the Central Valley, 32,000 people are enrolled in Covered California.

The company's spokesperson said folks here will pay less because the hike is based off age and where you live.

"In the Fresno, Kings, and Madera Counties area you're looking at about a 10.5-percent weighted average increase across those counties compared to the statewide increase 13.2-percent for 2017," said Dana Howard, Covered California Spokesperson.

Covered California's spokesperson said despite the increase in premiums, subsidies, and tax credits will still be offered help alleviate the monthly cost.
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