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Old 02-09-2010, 05:30 AM   #21
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My Kaiser (basic plan) went from $186 to $250. I am figuring that turning 50 last year helped push up the rate. Bu now I am wondering to insurance companies typically have age brackets?
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Old 02-09-2010, 05:35 AM   #22
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Bu now I am wondering to insurance companies typically have age brackets?
Yes. Both DW and I saw larger (than the normally large) increases in our BC/BS individual plans when we hit 60.
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Old 02-09-2010, 08:24 AM   #23
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Age bands are typical and allowed by most regulators. Even health insurance reform plans had age bands. I just slipped into age 55 and into the next age band. To come out to roughly the same payment a month I would have to increase my deductible by $3000.
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Old 02-09-2010, 08:43 AM   #24
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Just about every company uses some form of age bands, the key is avoiding the ones that have massive differences when hitting the higher ones (like going from 54 to 55). One of the problems with individual health insurance is the consumer has no way of knowing what to look out for without the help of a good agent since it's not publicly disclosed (unless you run the rates manually, that is). Nothing like hitting a higher age band on top of the normal rate increase, leaving you with a 30-50% total increase. Aetna used to be infamous for this and changed their approach last year.
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Old 02-09-2010, 09:06 AM   #25
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My Kaiser (basic plan) went from $186 to $250. I am figuring that turning 50 last year helped push up the rate. Bu now I am wondering to insurance companies typically have age brackets?
I'm turning 50 this year as well and wanted to see what that would do to rates. I was able to learn a lot by plugging in different birth years using eHealthInsurance's online rate quote system. My premium (on an HDHP) alone went from $147 to $164 this year, but then it looks to me like as soon as I hit 50, it's going to jump to $215. As best I could tell from my informal research, it looks like rates will jump at every 5-year interval.
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Old 02-09-2010, 10:43 AM   #26
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Just received the insurance premium increase notice - it's gone up 16.5%.
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Old 02-09-2010, 02:02 PM   #27
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The insurance hikes are happening all the over the place, particularly for individuals where more and more healthy folks are deciding to drop insurance.

Obama official 'very disturbed' by Anthem Blue Cross rate hikes - latimes.com

Quote:
California insurance regulators asked Anthem Blue Cross to delay controversial rate increases of as much as 39% for individual policies, hikes that have triggered widespread criticism from subscribers and brokers -- and now from the federal government.

In a rare step, the Obama administration called on California's largest for-profit insurer to justify its rate hikes, saying the increases were alarming at a time when subscribers face skyrocketing healthcare costs.

In a letter to Anthem's president, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius voiced serious concern over the higher premiums, which go into effect March 1 for many of the insurer's estimated 800,000 individual policyholders.
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Old 02-09-2010, 02:09 PM   #28
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The insurance hikes are happening all the over the place, particularly for individuals where more and more healthy folks are deciding to drop insurance.

Obama official 'very disturbed' by Anthem Blue Cross rate hikes - latimes.com
Anthem is still the lowest priced company in most cases in CA, even with the 30-40% rate increase. If people stopped buying low deductible co-pay plans, maybe it wouldn't be so expensive. I had a 62-year-old guy today tell me the insurance companies are crooks because they wouldn't insure him (diabetic, heart attack 4 years ago) and his wife (primary biliary cirrhosis, rare autoimmune disease with expensive Rx) for less than $890/month with a $10k deductible on a guaranteed-issue HIPAA conversion. Their prescriptions alone are about $1000 per month combined. Is it a crappy situation? Yes, it sure is....are they crooks for doing so? No...wouldn't say so. The premiums for a $500 deductible co-pay plan would have been $2400 per month with one carrier, and well over $3500 with the other carriers....employers routinely choose to offer the $500 deductible co-pay plans, despite the massive difference in cost.
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Old 02-09-2010, 04:31 PM   #29
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From what I have read the primary reason for the Anthem rate increases is that many healthy people dropped the individual insurance and are gong bare (recession fall out) as a result adverse selection is operating with the pool now less healthy than it was.
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Old 02-09-2010, 04:34 PM   #30
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From what I have read the primary reason for the Anthem rate increases is that many healthy people dropped the individual insurance and are gong bare (recession fall out) as a result adverse selection is operating with the pool now less healthy than it was.
Makes sense. I've had a lot of healthy people that lost jobs give up their own coverage and just covering their kids.
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Old 02-10-2010, 04:45 PM   #31
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Anthem is still the lowest priced company in most cases in CA, even with the 30-40% rate increase. If people stopped buying low deductible co-pay plans, maybe it wouldn't be so expensive.
Ah, yeah, about that... I'm perfectly willing to use a high deductible/HSA type of plan. But, because I was found to have a benign, non-cancerous, non-pre-cancerous polyp on the recommended colonoscopy that I so foolishly had done a decade back:

"Unfortunately, we are unable to offer XXXXXXXXX coverage at this time. XXXXX XXXXXXXX for Individuals and Families is a cost-effective individual health care coverage program. We maintain its cost-effectiveness by only accepting for membership those individuals who successfully pass the medical underwriting screening process. Based on the information provided on the application for membership, we cannot approve enrollment."

Now, I CAN get into the low copay/insanely high premium plan, and once I use up the last of my COBRA, I can get into the 'continuation' plan, which is slightly cheaper.

I find your statement to be curiously misaligned with my experience.
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Old 02-10-2010, 04:49 PM   #32
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From what I have read the primary reason for the Anthem rate increases is that many healthy people dropped the individual insurance and are gong bare (recession fall out) as a result adverse selection is operating with the pool now less healthy than it was.
So, they'll just raise the rates for the sickies that are left. Then, the least unhealthy and most cash-strapped among the remaining members get the new rate hike, and decide to go without and take their chances. Anthem notices this, and determines that they need to raise rates again.

Rinse, repeat...

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Old 02-10-2010, 04:50 PM   #33
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Ah, yeah, about that... I'm perfectly willing to use a high deductible/HSA type of plan. But, because I was found to have a benign, non-cancerous, non-pre-cancerous polyp on the recommended colonoscopy that I so foolishly had done a decade back:

"Unfortunately, we are unable to offer XXXXXXXXX coverage at this time. XXXXX XXXXXXXX for Individuals and Families is a cost-effective individual health care coverage program. We maintain its cost-effectiveness by only accepting for membership those individuals who successfully pass the medical underwriting screening process. Based on the information provided on the application for membership, we cannot approve enrollment."

Now, I CAN get into the low copay/insanely high premium plan, and once I use up the last of my COBRA, I can get into the 'continuation' plan, which is slightly cheaper.

I find your statement to be curiously misaligned with my experience.
Once you use up your COBRA, you may (likely) be HIPAA eligibile. I am not sure about the laws in CA, but in VA, you can choose any plan that is available to everyone else and just pay a higher rate. I had someone last year that had the same thing and was approved with the best risk class with Anthem. Did you use the help of an independent agent when you were declined? Sometimes when people do things on their own, the way things are written on the application are not that clearly stated and can cause a decline. Even so, an independent agent should have been able to help you get coverage with another carrier. That is not a condition that is an auto-decline with all carriers.
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Old 02-20-2010, 01:55 AM   #34
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I pay $732.10/mo for a 5K deductible through BCBS. Every time the monthly bill comes, I cross my fingers that the rate doesn't go up. $732.10 is about my affordability limit. I just turned 63 last week, so I have 2 years until medicare.
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Old 02-20-2010, 08:57 AM   #35
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I pay $732.10/mo for a 5K deductible through BCBS. Every time the monthly bill comes, I cross my fingers that the rate doesn't go up. $732.10 is about my affordability limit. I just turned 63 last week, so I have 2 years until medicare.
Is that a $5k deductible HSA, or a $5k deductible plan with a co-pay for office visits and prescriptions?
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Old 02-20-2010, 09:02 AM   #36
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Not sure what HSA is, but BCBS pays nothing until I reach 5K. All doctor's visits, scrips, etc. are on me. I guess I won't complain since I've never come close to the 5K. But, my real concern is: they'll drop me if I get really sick with something like cancer.
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Old 02-20-2010, 09:05 AM   #37
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Not sure what HSA is, but BCBS pays nothing until I reach 5K. All doctor's visits, scrips, etc. are on me. I guess I won't complain since I've never come close to the 5K. But, my real concern is: they'll drop me if I get really sick with something like cancer.
They can't single you out for dropping coverage or for premium increases as long as you keep making the payments. They can, however, jack up the premiums on a group of insureds if their collective claims experience becomes very high.
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Old 02-20-2010, 09:06 AM   #38
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You can't be dropped as long as you continue paying your premiums. I don't know where that myth got started, but health insurance is guaranteed renewable. Are you in reasonably good health? What state are you in? $732 seems high for a $5k deductible.
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Old 02-20-2010, 09:35 AM   #39
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Blue Cross called (with an automated machine) saying that they are delaying the hike.

KCBS - Anthem Blue Cross to Postpone Massive Rate Hikes
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Old 02-20-2010, 11:20 AM   #40
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I'm in Ohio. Although I have "preexisting conditions", I'm rarely sick. Have never been in the hospital except to have my three babies. I have read that BCBS hires people to look for specific loopholes in their policies so that they can cancel those who get sick and will have high medical bills. In fact, there is a law suit in CA for just that thing. Another thing: I've been on this program for 2 years. The premium started out at $425; after 6 months, they raised it to $610; 6 months later, it went to $732. I've been at the $732 point now for almost 1 year.
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