Michael Cerpok of Fountain Hills, AZ, has an incurable form of leukemia, and will need expensive treatments for the rest of his life. Under his current health insurance plan, he says he pays just $4,500 out of pocket for $350,000 worth of treatment.
Local news station ABC 15 reported that Cerpok received a letter from his insurance provider saying they would drop him in January due to Obamacare regulations. The station did not, however, present the letter's contents, so it is unclear what part of the Affordable Care Act led to his insurance company’s decision. Under the act, insurers may not drop patients due to pre-existing conditions.
It is also unclear whether Cerpok may find similar coverage using the new health insurance exchange, as he has not yet shopped for alternatives.
Cerpok already operates two businesses, and says he may need to take on more work if he does not find a more affordable option.
“I've worked hard because I've had to, and I’ve had to, because cancer runs in my family,” Cerpok told ABC 15. "Now [the loss of insurance] doesn't mean I can't go see my current doctor, but my $4,500 out-of-pocket, is going to turn into a minimum of $26,000 out-of-pocket to see the doctor that I’ve been seeing the last seven years."
The state patients live in plays a large part in how the Affordable Care Act affects them. Conservative states that are resisting Obamacare are working to make the new laws as unattractive as possible, and therefore insurance will cost consumers significantly more. In contrast, liberal states who embrace new policies are working to make insurance as affordable as they can.
The nonprofit RAND Corporation performed an extensive analysis on how Obamacare will affect premiums, and found that in about half of the states studied, rates under exchange programs will mirror those of current plans. Of the other half, some states will see higher rates while some will see rates drop.
The study did not include federal subsidies, which will reduce the cost for at least 60 percent of consumers purchasing insurance through the exchange.
UPDATE: This article originally stated that Michael Cerpok did not give ABC News the letter. He contacted the author to say that he did present it. However, the station did not include information from the letter in their report.