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Old 10-15-2009, 10:55 AM   #21
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Can anyone explain to me why health insurance premiums are going up so much each year when inflation is practically nothing? Something is wrong here.
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Old 10-15-2009, 01:32 PM   #22
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Can anyone explain to me why health insurance premiums are going up so much each year when inflation is practically nothing? Something is wrong here.
Both the healthcare profession and education are enjoying a wonderful bubble. Those in any sort of business know that staffing costs typically represent the single largest cost of business. In the case of education and healthcare, we've dramatic increases in compensation over the past couple of decades. When doctors make $250k and nurses make $80k, the costs have to be transferred to to the end user. If we contrast this with the healthcare systems of France or Japan, which are rated as superior overall to that of the US, we find considerably lower salaries. In France, doctors average about $55k, and there are more doctors per patient. The per person healthcare cost in France is also 2/3 that of the US.

But I don't want to oversimplify. Firstly, the US has taken a leadership role in medical research and advanced medicine, which comes at at cost. Other countries have been able to take advantage of that expensive research without committing their own research dollars (or euro's). And the medical profession in the US has been set up based on high compensation (one of the AMA's initial aims was to protect and increase physician income). The end user - the insured - must pay for the high cost of a medical education, the high cost of malpractice insurance (so high, that there are specialties in which physicians no longer wish to practice because rates have skyrocketed - OB/GYN's are increasingly refusing to do deliveries because the the six figure premiums) the high cost of staffing an office to do paperwork, and to offset losses from the uninsured who must be treated at a hospital.

The common refrain is to lay blame at the feet of insurance companies, but my own not-for-profit employer self-insures, with an insurance company administering the plan for a somewhat modest fee. Our own costs have grown frightenly high - we pay for 100% monthly premiums, which are now about $17k per year for family coverage. This high number is based purely on our experience rating and the expected costs of our healthcare, which equates to the consumption of roughly $1 million per year. That $1 million has to go somewhere, and the bulk of it goes into the pocket of a healthcare worker. I'm not making judgements about the income of healthcare workers, but much like taxes, if we want lower or stable health insurance premiums the costs on the back end need to be contained, and the area in which they can be contained is in the number and pay rate of the workers.

Another factor is that of the uninsured. But uninsured is something of a misnomer. It could better be described as poorly insured. Hospitals must make care available to anyone who presents themselves (within limits), regardless of ability to pay. Some of our local facilities with large immigrant and undocumented populations are in serious trouble because of the cost of treating those with no insurance or other coverage. Consequently, we've seen these cost passed onto those with coverage. About a year ago, I was having heart palpitations and weakness in my left arm and decided to go to the ER. They gave me a couple of meds, kept me on a gurney in the hallway for several hours, gave me an EKG and decided to admit me overnight. The bill - largely covered by insurance - came to nearly $7,000. I know that the bill ws padded because my insurance carrier would pay and I knew that they likely admitted me overnight because they could charge for an empty bed.

I've seen expenses rise at a rate of 3 or 4 times the rate of inflation over the past 10 or 15 years in three areas. Our local public employees have been an increasing cost of about 9% per year, education has been outpacing inflation by a rate of 4 to 1, as has healthcare. That sort of unsustainable rate of increase would be called a bubble anywhere else.
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Old 10-15-2009, 01:40 PM   #23
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My health insurance, which I get through my former employer, actually went down a little. But all copays and the deductible were raised. Also, premiums had been set up so that single insureds subsidized family insureds -- they eliminated that, which reduced my premium.

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Old 10-15-2009, 07:53 PM   #24
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Just got my enrollment worksheet for 2010 from Megacorp. The premium did not go up nor are there any changes to the benefits....as I breathe a slight sigh of relief.
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Old 10-15-2009, 08:10 PM   #25
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I will find out how much my premium is going up at the quarterly meeting on Nov 3rd. I'm expecting it to go up close to 10% like it has each of the last several years. I'm only paying about $70/mo ($32.64 every 2 weeks) for myself so I don't give it much thought.
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Old 10-15-2009, 11:15 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by teejayevans View Post
Given the current health care debate, if you made this public, betcha
you could negotiate that down.
I believe most mega-corps self insure, and use the insurance companies
to handle the admin but actual health care costs are paid by the mega-corp
hence controlling costs.
TJ
not sure my lil non profit can negotiate, nor my friends with staff from 3 people to 30...but could make a good story...

we have a lot of staff with dependents so it would be a big shift...
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Old 10-15-2009, 11:27 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by randyman65 View Post
About a year ago, I was having heart palpitations and weakness in my left arm and decided to go to the ER. They gave me a couple of meds, kept me on a gurney in the hallway for several hours, gave me an EKG and decided to admit me overnight. The bill - largely covered by insurance - came to nearly $7,000. I know that the bill ws padded because my insurance carrier would pay and I knew that they likely admitted me overnight because they could charge for an empty bed.
Yea, you got screwed, I spent 3 days in hospital, private room, countless
blood tests, drugs, etc for less than that. Hospital has excellent rep, but it's
non-profit, that might have something to do with it.
TJ
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Old 10-15-2009, 11:37 PM   #28
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Our health insurance went from $544.32/month up to $663.68/month for me, my wife and my college student daughter. This was for a $2500/person deductible policy.

They allowed me to increase the deductible to $5000/person for a slight premium increase to $561.58.

This is a private policy through Golden Rule, a United Healthcare Company. It has some pre-existing conditions excluded however.
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Old 10-16-2009, 09:23 AM   #29
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Well, I'm retired now and In Medicare and use the VA as well
But, I still do Some Consulting for my Former Employer and their Company is expecting MUCH HIGHER Premiums to even Be New records..

Their Agentcy said the Ins. Co.'s are holding off till the Last min. to provide New rates, waiting to see what Congress is Going to Do with That OBAMA health Care plan..

With being Forced to Take Anyone- No Pre-X's and expecting many Individuals will Wait Until AFTER something happens and pay the $1,000 Fine, It's going to Jack Pot Ins. Co.'s , let alone Also Raise Costs Considerably for having to take Pre-X people either way.. and of course Pass thos Cost onto Group Plans as well.

And then their are many Co.'s that just might raise the Premiums to Employees enough to Force them to Opt out and Go into the Gov't Plans.. and Only Keep a Premium Plan for Executives and let the Rank & File Go on their Own.. Saving the Co. Alot of $..

many Towns/Cities are watching very closely as well and Planning on doing the same thing ...

Can't Blame them..
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Old 10-16-2009, 03:41 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by barker View Post
Our health insurance went from $544.32/month up to $663.68/month for me, my wife and my college student daughter. This was for a $2500/person deductible policy.

They allowed me to increase the deductible to $5000/person for a slight premium increase to $561.58.

This is a private policy through Golden Rule, a United Healthcare Company. It has some pre-existing conditions excluded however.
They jacked mine up 20% as well, I switch, if it goes up 20% with no
inflation, can't imagine was will happen if inflation starts to rise.
I had no preconditions
TJ
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Old 10-16-2009, 03:47 PM   #31
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Highmark of PA has asked for a rate increase. I'll find out in Jan what that will be. Currently 580/month for self. DW has hers from past employer, it is about a third of mine in cost.
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Old 10-17-2009, 12:58 AM   #32
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Its a global problem and the reasons I see are: shortage of medical staff, increasing litigation driving expensive best practice, increasing reliance for medicine on diverse and cutting edge technologies.....

In Aust our premium increase have to be approved by govt committee, yet every year massive increases. Private health is profitable, but not rediculously so its inneficiencies or true cost driving it....

Ours rise by about 15-20% p.a. for the last memorable years .......

We have two systems a public system with long waiting lists, shared rooms and free for families on less then about $100K combined income.......over $100K your forced to go private with tax penalties if you dont......The level of care in private is significantly better though...

In Aus our top private hospital cover with private room and choice of doctor is $550 per quarter for a family. This does not include out of hospital expenses eg prescriptions, physio etc......Thats about an extra 350 per quarter for all your ancillary needs for a family of 4.....

Our dollar is 0.92 us cents so thats about $600Us per quarter and $380 per quarter US.
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Old 10-17-2009, 11:00 AM   #33
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Originally Posted by Aussie Trooper View Post
We have two systems a public system with long waiting lists, shared rooms and free for families on less then about $100K combined income.......over $100K your forced to go private with tax penalties if you dont......The level of care in private is significantly better though...
.
I assume if <$100K you can choose to go private.

Lets say you are working, making >100K, and private. What happens when
you retire, I assume many would want to remain in private system so they
don't have to change Doctors, etc.

In your cities you may have a choice of public vs private, but what about
in the outback, can public visit a private doctor/hospital and vice-versa??

I think the British system is similar to yours.
TJ
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Old 10-19-2009, 10:43 AM   #34
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Annual enrollment starts today at DW's company (where we get insurance). The rates went up a whopping 2.5% for us. From $33.82 to $34.66 this year (per month). This is obviously going to take a big chunk out of our monthly budget for bubble gum and miscellaneous candy expenditures, but in these difficult times we will figure it out somehow. They did raise the deductible from $2400 to $3000 on our "high deductible" plan, and they added extra benefits for mental health, speech, and phys therapy.

More painfully, our family dental coverage is going up more than a dollar a month from $47.78 to $48.97 (also 2.5%).

Big cuts are coming to the FUEGO household budget.
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Old 10-19-2009, 11:03 AM   #35
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BCBS basic (cheapest), family policy, pre-tax dollars (while I am working; reverts to after-tax dollars once I retire):

Currently paying $2500/year, plus another $800 for separate dental/vision. I hear the premiums will go up ?12%? for 2010. No doubt the co-pays will rise, too. This, in a time of "no inflation"

The dental insurance would be good (pays 40% of covered costs) except I always end up stuck in the middle amongst the dental office, BCBS (which gets the claim first and has to deny it), and the dental insurer. Although we pay at the time of service, 2 or 3 months later I always get a bill from the dental office for the "full" cost of the procedure, and I end up having to referee amongst all 3 entities.

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Old 10-19-2009, 11:06 AM   #36
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Just got me rate schedule for 2010 benefits from Megacorp. My share of the individual health coverage went up 38% (!). It did not go up at all last year from the previous, so I suppose things could be worse.

We also have had no pay raises for the last two years, though.
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Old 10-19-2009, 11:24 AM   #37
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Did anyone else hear the recent "This American Life" programs on NPR all about US healthcare. There were very interesting and explained the origin of the system and the inherent problems.

Living in MA, where health insurance is mandatory, I'm now hoping the legislature can get a handle on costs. I work for the state so get good insurance, $1200/year low copays, no deductibles. Last year the %age of our premium we pay went up from 20% to 25%. I'm also a UK citizen so if I have to I can always return to Britain and get NHS care free at the point of service.
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Old 10-19-2009, 03:29 PM   #38
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I received Megacorp retiree HC benefit package today. 2010 HC & dental went down 5%. Deductibles went up slightly. They self insure and said claims had been favorable during 2009 which allowed the premium reduction. I'll take it.
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Old 10-21-2009, 06:21 PM   #39
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We just got a notice that our health insurance will go up 7 percent for 2010; "tier 3" prescriptions will be a little cheaper through the insurance prescription program, and limits on mental health service have been raised or eliminated; otherwise, no changes.

Not complaining.
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Old 10-22-2009, 10:47 AM   #40
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Our healthcare premiums are going up 22%... to over $1,000 per month for a family... the company only picks up $350 of that...

Our dental is going up 18%... to about $180 per month... the company picks up $35...

We are a small company and one employee got cancer and is not expected to make it... the costs must have been high....
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