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As Obamacare Deadline Looms, Insurance Companies Pile On The Taxes

Premium, User And Policy Fees Hit Consumers As White House Eases Off Deadlines
Screen capture of New York's online health insurance marketplace.

Screen capture of New York’s online health insurance marketplace.

CBS New York (con't)

Affordable Care Act Updates: CBSNewYork.com/ACA

Health News & Information: CBSNewYork.com/Health

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Time is running out to sign up for Obamacare. Many are still scrambling to get coverage by Jan. 1.

In the meantime, we’re now beginning to see the taxes added on by insurance companies because of the law.

David Rosenberg starts a new job next month, but said he needs insurance until then.

“My current coverage ends on Jan. 1. I’m covered through the end of this year, that’s when it ends. And my next coverage doesn’t start until Jan. 20,” Rosenberg told CBS 2’s Dick Brennan on Thursday.

But the disastrous roll-out of the Affordable Care Act has forced the administration to be very flexible with deadlines. The following was posted on its website:

“Sometimes, despite your best efforts, you might have run into delays. Don’t worry, we still may be able to help you get covered as soon as Jan. 1.”

But for many ready to sign up, that just adds to the confusion and concern.

“They wanna know how they are gonna pay, and what insurance is going to cover,” said Odalys Arevalo of Sunshine Light and Health.

And there’s more: most insurance companies don’t tell you about the taxes they add to their premiums. The numbers will vary, but one subscriber said their tax amount is $23.14 a month, or nearly $278 annually.

Other add-ons include:

* A 2 percent premium tax on every health plan.

* A user fee of 3.5 percent to sell through the online marketplace.

* A $2-per-policy fee.

Nonetheless, supporters of the Affordable Care Act claim the neediest will get the best coverage.

“People who make a little more will pay more; people who make a little less will pay less,” Arevalo said.

Critics say most insurers don’t specifically post taxes on invoices, and some question how, in the case Brennan showed earlier, Alabama Blue Cross-Blue Shield was  able to be so specific.

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