Savannah business owners bracing for uncertainty of health insur - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Savannah business owners bracing for uncertainty of health insurance in 2018

(Source: WTOC) (Source: WTOC)
SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) -

Small business owners and others with individual health insurance premiums are full of uncertainty for what 2018 will bring. 

This comes as Blue Cross Blue Shield says health plan rates could increase as much as 40 percent. We sat down with one couple who hopes to still have access to affordable insurance next year. 

The instability and rising prices are forcing some of these people to decide between having insurance or paying the penalty. 

Jim and Mari Carswell started their video production company in 2001. Their health insurance premiums have always been affordable - that is - until. 

"A couple years ago, our rates start escalating."

The Carswells pay almost $1,500 a month between the two of them. That doesn't include a $900 deductible.

"We're supposed to be saving for retirement right now, and we're already beginning to take some of that money that would've gone there a few years ago, and it's now going into insurance premiums," said Mari Carswell, Spyhop Media. 

As for small business owners, they fall into the same boat as millions of other Americans - unable to get corporate insurance and equally unable to qualify for subsidies. Now, a recent notice by Blue Cross Blue Shield to increase rates as much as 40 percent worries them. 

"If our insurance goes up that much, we're talking about over $25,000 a year just for insurance," Carswell said. 

Carswell says they'll have to strongly consider dropping insurance altogether - something she didn't think she'd ever be faced with. 

"I feel pretty helpless, pretty lost, pretty out of control," she said. 

Republicans say they'll continue their fight to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. Carswell hopes politicians realize millions of Americans hang in the balance. 

"We need somebody to come together and not forget the segment that's between corporate insurance and people who are getting subsidies, but those of us who are willing to pay for insurance but just need something that's realistically affordable," Carswell said. 

Whether that will happen with the current political climate in Washington is tough to predict. 

Blue Cross Blue Shield could still decide not to offer insurance premiums in certain Georgia counties. If that were to happen, many people will be left without a single option for health insurance. 

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