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Small business owners in Connecticut sound off on healthcare rate increases

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WEST HARTFORD -- On Monday, the Obama administration announced an average premium rate increase of 22 percent under the Affordable Care Act for 2017.

The move has garnered strong opinions from local businesses purchasing healthcare from the Access Health CT exchange.

Jane Shauck, owner of Iris Photography in West Hartford, said her family pays more for healthcare under Obamacare than they did under their prior plan. "Honestly, our rates totally doubled when we went to Obamacare," said Shauck.

Shauck's family pays for the health exchange's bronze plan. The catastrophic healthcare plan costs the Shaucks nearly $10,000 a year, and only covers basic things like yearly check-ups and dental visits for children. Any other expenses come out of pocket until the family meets its deductible.

"If we have a major accident, we would probably pay $15-20,000 out of pocket in one year," said Shauck.

Despite the financial setback, Shauck said she still believes the Affordable Care Act is a step in the right direction. "I don't like it at all, but I'm trying to look at the big picture," said Shauck. "I'm still glad people have healthcare who weren't able to have it before."

Federal subsidies are also supposed to rise with the rate increases, but Shauck said her family does not qualify for any.

"My husband and I were both really surprised to hear that there was going to be a big increase," said Schauck.

Kimberly Moster, the owner of Kimberly Boutique in West Hartford Center, said the Affordable Care Act has saved her money. "Our rates dropped, I would say, almost 50 percent," said Moster.

Moster said the rates she receives for her employees are so low, she's considering opting for the coverage herself. "I'm on my husband's health insurance, and I was considering going off of his and going onto ours because it really is reasonably priced," said Moster.

Enrollment begins November 1. For coverage beginning on January 1st, customers must pick plans by December 15.

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