Health care plan discontinuation leaves family scrambling

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ALBANY, N.Y. – A local man received a letter stating his health care coverage will be discontinued, and he only has two weeks to find a replacement.

Raymond Marshall received a letter in the mail on Wednesday notifying him of the discontinuation of his healthcare plan. Marshall was enrolled in a Family Health Plus program, but it is being discontinued under the Affordable Care Act.

“Totally devastated between me and my wife that our insurance is gone as of 14 days,” he said.

His coverage will no longer be available as of August 1, and he’s $250 short of being eligible for Medicaid.

Eventually, every family in the program will receive a similar letter. Some may be eligible for Medicaid but others, like Marshall, will have to pay a “spenddown,” which is like a deductible.

Marshall said his deductible is $250 a month per person, which is almost seven times more than what he used to pay.

“About $40 a month. That could cover all our pills,” he said. “Now, without it, it could be $500 a month.”

Although the letter came with a two week deadline, the State Department of Health posted a statement on its website in 2013.

It said: “Applications for Family Health Plus will not be accepted after December 31, 2013, because of changes under the Affordable Care Act. Starting January 1, 2014, individuals should apply for health insurance coverage through the Marketplace: https://nystateofhealth.ny.gov/”

Healthcare providers said premiums within the marketplace will be more expensive, but there are ways families can find assistance if they, too, lose their coverage.

“Many people would be eligible for advance premium tax credits as well as some of those additional cost sharing reductions,” Director of Marketing for Fidelis Care Tim Tilton said.

Marshall said it’s not about the money, and he’ll find a way to pay as he and his wife are both diabetics. He said it is about the inconvenience and stress of finding a new healthcare provider and possibly all new doctors. He wishes he had received the letter sooner.

“What do you let go to pay for that?” he asked. “You’re talking, you know, probably half your paycheck. Then you have to try to switch doctors which becomes more of a hassle, so yeah, it’s been a burden,” he said.

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