Health insurance costs threaten growth, success

Dear Editor:

Small businesses form the core of a healthy and growing Maine economy. They are responsible for the creation of the majority of new jobs in this state.

Our family of five should be part of the effort to assure the success of Maine’s economic future. We run a small successful business with six employees, all paid above the minimum wage. We hire Maine-based consultants and suppliers to help us continue and grow our business. We have three children, two in college and one in public school, who love Maine and will hopefully be able to contribute to the economic success of our state. We are healthy, hard working, imaginative entrepreneurs dedicated to doing our part to help strengthen Maine’s economy.

Despite this, we are both now actively looking for full-time jobs that come with health insurance benefits, as we can no longer afford private health insurance. In 2016, we have paid Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield a monthly premium of $2,021.44 (that comes to $24,257.28 per year!). Our family deductible is $10,000. By the end of this year we will have paid out over $34,000 for health care coverage for our healthy family. Had we enrolled under the Affordable Health Act, our costs would have been more, as we do not qualify for the subsidy.

In 2017, Anthem has quoted $33,229.68 for our yearly private insurance cost, not including the $14,300 deductible. That comes to over $47,000 for 2017! Under the Affordable Care Act Bronze Plan, we might be able to bring our costs down to between $36,000 and $40,000. Hardly “affordable”!

Today’s health insurance costs are the greatest threat to our economy’s growth and success. Clearly neither private health insurance nor the Affordable Care Act is affordable for our family. With the result of the recent elections, there is an assumption that the Affordable Care Act will be overturned. We need our elected officials to recognize that their failure to develop a truly affordable health insurance system is preventing the success and growth of our state and national economies. It is long past time that our state and national governments act to resolve this crisis.

Lucy Benjamin and Clifton Page

East Blue Hill