Health Insurance Refugees

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — When Garnett and Dave Mellen sent their 19-year-old daughter, Gita, off to college an hour away at Virginia Commonwealth University last fall, they didn’t expect to follow her.

But in November, the family received notice that its monthly health insurance premium in Charlottesville would triple for 2018, from $1,200 to an unaffordable $3,600.

So, the Mellens, both longtime local business owners, packed their bags and spent time with Gita in her off-campus apartment in Richmond.

“My whole life has been rearranged around trying to get health insurance,” Garnett Mellen, 56, said, as she explained that claiming residency with her daughter in the new ZIP code had cut their premiums by more than half.

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