Forgotten Voices: Marketplace Meltdown

(NBC News) Enrollment for 2018 coverage under the Affordable Care Act, previously known as Obamacare, is underway.

Even though there has been some confusion, you are still required by law to have health insurance or pay a fine.

Many who purchase their health care from marketplace exchanges under the A.C.A. are worried about costs going up.

In Maryville, Tennessee, Matt and April White are struggling to pay for health insurance.

“It’s having to make a choice between having health care or having food on the table, pretty much,” Matt says.

He’s covered through his job. Their premature twins are on Medicaid. April quit work to care for them, so she bought an Obamacare plan.

Like nearly three million Americans, she has one marketplace insurer to choose from, and their average premium is going up 21 percent this year.

“I don’t know if I’m going to be able to buy a policy,” she says now.

Blue Cross Blue Shield says they’re raising rates because President Trump announced no more reimbursements for subsidies they’re required to give low-income families.

April, in turn, is fed up with Washington.

“They chose instead to play chicken with people’s lives, and so now I have a knot in my gut like, all the time,” she says.

Her son Towns, born with a cleft palate, may need a fifth surgery. She worries who’ll pay if they lose Medicaid.

“That is just a heart wrenching decision that I don’t think any parent should have to make,” she says.

Nearby, Cherokee Health offers free care even though the community clinic is losing federal funds.

“I asked my boss what we’re going to do, and he said we’re going to what Cherokee does: keep seeing people whether they can pay or not,” says Derrick Folsom.

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