LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Open enrollment for the Affordable Care Act started Wednesday, and thousands in Kentucky and Indiana faced double-digit rate hikes.
Valerie Reeves is an insurance agent and the owner of Preferred Benefits in Louisville.
"I think the Affordable Care Act has lost its meaning," Reeves said. "A lot of employers are looking at this saying, 'Valerie, I don't know how much longer I can afford this.'"
This year, Kentuckians will only have one option. Some counties, including Jefferson, will have CareSource, others, including Hardin, will have Anthem.
"Basically, you have no choice," Reeves said.
CareSource rates will increase an average of 56% in 2017, with Anthem rates rising an average of 41%. That could mean hundreds of dollars more every month in premiums.
Representative Steve Riggs (D-Louisville) is the ranking member of Kentucky's banking and insurance committee.
"The people that are in charge of trying to dismantle healthcare are succeeding," Riggs said. "Everything that was designed to make sure the rate increases were slowing down has been taken away."
Indiana will also see major rate hikes, 20% on average for CareSource users and 36% for Ambetter customers.
No one has a clear solution to rising rates.
"There's no little soundbite answer, like people like to give at campaign time," Riggs said. "There's just no easy answer like that."
80,000 Kentuckians signed up for healthcare on the exchange last year.
"The main thing they want to be concerned with is not only the coverage but also if the provider is accepting the insurance," Reeves said.
She adds there's not a clear way to avoid the cost. Everyone will have to prove they have insurance when filing taxes or they'll face a fine.
Low-income residents might see a decrease in premiums but an increase in deductibles.
Reeves said the most affordable options come from company plans or employer exchange programs. She added that now even small husband and wife companies can receive employer options.
Kentucky officials from the Public Protection Cabinet declined to speak about the increasing rates.