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Health insurance rate increase
Old 12-16-2008, 11:59 AM   #1
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Health insurance rate increase

I've been with AETNA for 2 years. I haven't filed any claims for anything other than routine preventative care. They are trying to raise my premium by 22% next year after only a tiny increase last year. A relative who is an insurance agent says that this is fairly common. Has anyone else seen this behavior by their medical insurer?

A few options occur to me:
1) AETNA is hoping I won't notice the increase.
2) After 2 years, AETNA has more trouble denying coverage based on an accusation of an undisclosed pre-existing condition. So, longer-term customers are more risky. I would have to read the policy to see if this makes sense.
3) They are hoping I've fallen in love with my current medical providers, and are thus reluctant to change just to save a few bucks.
4) They are just being greedy.

In any case, I'm dumping them. I'm just curious whether others have seen this.
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Old 12-16-2008, 12:05 PM   #2
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Actually, whether or not you've filed medical claims is pretty much irrelevant -- unlike auto insurance or homeowners insurance. Your increase is based on the history of the entire tier of insureds which includes you.
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Old 12-16-2008, 12:18 PM   #3
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If you get coverage through your employer, and assuming this is a large company, changing is no big deal. However, if you are buying as an individual in the open market, every time you change, the new carrier has the right to choose not to insure you, and most do not provide coverage for pre-existing conditions. Such a condition includes anything you have been treated for before.
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Old 12-16-2008, 12:20 PM   #4
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Such a condition includes anything you have been treated for before.
Or, in some cases, should have been treated for before.
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Old 12-16-2008, 01:22 PM   #5
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Premium changes are erratic and have run in the 12% increase range over the past decade. But volatility persists, so plan aggressively.
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As if you didn't know..If the above message contains medical content, it's NOT intended as advice, and may not be accurate, applicable or sufficient. Don't rely on it for any purpose. Consult your own doctor for all medical advice.
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Old 12-16-2008, 01:37 PM   #6
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So far the only increase I've seen for the new year is the Co-Pay which went up 10%. I'm sure I'll get the increase on the premium in Jan.
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Old 12-16-2008, 01:46 PM   #7
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The problem with shopping around for medical insurance is the arduous application process. I'm into year 2 of purchasing my own medical insurance. I saw a 20% increase at the 1 year mark. I have toyed with the idea of applying for coverage again with another company to see what premiums I can get.
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Old 12-16-2008, 03:55 PM   #8
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The premiums for my health insurance (which I have through my former employer....for life) are going up 12%, beginning 1-1-09. It only went up ~4% this past January. I only have to pay 25% of the premium ($152 now....$171 starting Jan. 1st), and my former employer picks up the other 75%. Even with the yearly increases, it's still a lot cheaper than if I had to go out and foot the bill on my own! (esp. with pre-existing cr*p)

It includes full medical, dental, and prescriptions ($4 generics & $20 brand-name for 30 days worth at the pharmacy.....if I do mail order through the insurance co. it's 90 days worth for $10 for generics and only $20 for 90 days supply of name-brand). My prescriptions alone make the premiums worth it...w/o the card they'd be just short of $200/month. Mail order is $160 (for both name-brand prescriptions per year!

In the 30+ years that I worked, I only recall 1 or 2 years where the ins. premiums didn't go up. And only 1 year where they actually dropped a few bucks!
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Old 12-16-2008, 03:57 PM   #9
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The premiums for my health insurance (which I have through my former employer....for life)
OUCH! That's the sound of my wounds getting salt poured into them...
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Old 12-16-2008, 04:50 PM   #10
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i posted similar frustration here not even a year, yet another insurance cost increase .

i was fully expecting another rate increase by the end of the year though i've yet to receive notice. my next step is to increase the deductible (i never use the stupid thing anyway), then find new insurance company, then head overseas.

though just getting a job solves this problem. who knew retirement would be so much work. one of the best advantages of early retirement is that there's still plenty of time to start a whole new career.
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Old 12-17-2008, 10:32 AM   #11
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Some of these erratic rate increases have to do with the company that sells your company health insurance. Its a scam I lived with for years as the president of a medium-sized company.

The local company that sells health (and life) insurance gets a commission from the insurance carrier when they sell a policy. Then, for two years you don't hear from the salesmen. Suddenly you get a huge rate increase.

Instantly, the insurance salesman comes to your office as says, "Your insurance carrier is too expensive, but we have a company that can give you just as good coverage at a lower price." Of course, this sounds to me, so I change health insurance carriers. The insurance salesman gets a big commission, and the insurance carrier gets rich charging an exorbitant rate to all those customers who were too apathetic to change carriers.
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Old 12-17-2008, 10:59 AM   #12
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AFAIK, the insurance salesmen don't have any influence on premiums. It's true that they make money when a client changes carriers (which is why my relative/salesman is continually pushing his clients - including me - to change carriers). So, it looks to me like the insurance salespeople are accidental beneficiaries of insurance company greed (as opposed to actively colluding with the insurance companies they represent).
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Old 12-18-2008, 05:53 PM   #13
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I think I'm lucky. My health insurance via Southwest Pa's Highmark Blue Shield went up 80 cents/month. Per rate increase approved by PA insurance department. Hope the current bill is not a misprint.

I have post COBRA individual policy.
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Old 12-18-2008, 07:35 PM   #14
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My private Anthem HSA insurance premium went down a few percent after year 1, and stayed about the same after year 2.
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