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Insurers offer to stop charging sick people more
Old 03-24-2009, 01:56 PM   #1
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Insurers offer to stop charging sick people more

Why do "generous" or "magnanimous" not come to mind?

America's Health Insurance Plans and the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association say they are willing to "phase out the practice of varying premiums based on health status in the individual market" if all Americans are required to get coverage.


Insurers offer to stop charging sick people more
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Old 03-24-2009, 02:11 PM   #2
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Wow, government mandated universal coverage defeats the potential for adverse selection, and the health insurance orgs do away with pricing that combats adverse selection.
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Old 03-24-2009, 02:17 PM   #3
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This idea has been floating around for awhile. I don't see why not. In California, don't we already require people to have car insurance to drive?

There is also nothing wrong with having an insurance exchange runs by the goverment so people can purchase insurance at a group rate without pre-existing conditions problem. Health care and employement should not be tied together. We need to find a way to prevent people from not having health insurance until they get really sick.
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Old 03-24-2009, 03:05 PM   #4
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This looks promising for those of us who can't qualify or have sky-high premiums due to pre-existing health conditions.

But as the newest article notes:

The companies left themselves several outs, however. The letter said they would still charge different premiums based on such factors as age, place of residence, family size and benefits package.
And importantly, the industry did not extend to small businesses their offer to stop charging the sick higher premiums. Small employers who offer coverage can see their premiums zoom up from one year to the next, even if just one worker or family member gets seriously ill.


Insurers offer to stop charging sick people more

So---if age = increased likelihood of pre-existing conditions, those over 50 may still be dealing with very high premium costs.

No complaints for insurers charging more according to family size or benefits package, of course.

But still, at least some encouraging news. Interesting that insurers can now see their way to not gouging people due to their health conditions now that the government is promising/threatening to be able to do it and do it more cheaply....
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Old 03-24-2009, 06:36 PM   #5
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Well, I just saw that my policy will be going up 43% this year. This isn't because I've been in it a couple of years or have any medical conditions. It is the same price they offer to new policy holders who qualify medically. It appears to be based solely on age.

They may not be gouging people due to health conditions -- but they are still gouging.
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Old 03-24-2009, 08:45 PM   #6
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This idea has been floating around for awhile. I don't see why not. In California, don't we already require people to have car insurance to drive?
I remember when I lived in Mass I had to prove insurance before I could get plates or tabs for my car. Seems only right. In some situations we just have to subordinate our so called ďndividual rights to the group.

This plan would be a very easy way to get going on the health insurance morass.

Ha
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Old 03-24-2009, 09:01 PM   #7
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This idea has been floating around for awhile. I don't see why not. In California, don't we already require people to have car insurance to drive?
Since driving a car is not a right, the states aren't technically making it mandatory to have automobile liability coverage. It's only mandatory if you want to drive. Mandatory health insurance is another thing entirely--the state-mandated private purchase of a product/service. I can't think of any other situation that is similar.

I'm not saying this is necessarily a bad idea, but it is not a trivial issue from a constitutional standpoint.
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Old 03-24-2009, 10:44 PM   #8
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Come on; everyone knows that they will just raise the premiums for everyone to cover the costs.
A little like not charging more for drivers who get a lot of speeding tickets or DWI convictions. Just spread the cost they incur due to accidents to everyone else.
I'm glad I will be covered by medicare in about 10 years. My current premiums should go down.
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Old 03-24-2009, 11:11 PM   #9
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Come on; everyone knows that they will just raise the premiums for everyone to cover the costs.
A little like not charging more for drivers who get a lot of speeding tickets or DWI convictions. Just spread the cost they incur due to accidents to everyone else.
.
Exactly how I see it Dex. Folks now paying the lowest premiums will have to pay more so that folks now paying more can pay less. Since I'm in the paying more group, it sounds fine to me. I'm sure folks in the currently paying less group (young and healthy) probably feel differently.
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Old 03-25-2009, 07:02 AM   #10
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Exactly how I see it Dex. Folks now paying the lowest premiums will have to pay more so that folks now paying more can pay less. Since I'm in the paying more group, it sounds fine to me. I'm sure folks in the currently paying less group (young and healthy) probably feel differently.
Exactly right, that is why there is adverse selection. Unfortunately for those young, low payers they will eventually become older FIRE candidates and will be wishing the government had fixed this damn health care system
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Old 03-25-2009, 08:02 AM   #11
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Exactly how I see it Dex. Folks now paying the lowest premiums will have to pay more so that folks now paying more can pay less. Since I'm in the paying more group, it sounds fine to me. I'm sure folks in the currently paying less group (young and healthy) probably feel differently.
Generally, those are my thoughts also - as long as this Ponzi scheme holds together until I die - I'm good with it - the young might not be. If it is done slow enough they will not know it is even happening
Higher:
- health ins rates
- Social Security and Medicare taxes - no limit; higher rate
- Income taxes
- cost of products and services

It will be ugly when the Ponzi bell is rung and it all falls apart - something like the USSR after it fell apart. I think I only need it to hold together for anoter 35 years.
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Old 03-25-2009, 05:01 PM   #12
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Exactly how I see it Dex. Folks now paying the lowest premiums will have to pay more so that folks now paying more can pay less. Since I'm in the paying more group, it sounds fine to me. I'm sure folks in the currently paying less group (young and healthy) probably feel differently.
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Exactly right, that is why there is adverse selection. Unfortunately for those young, low payers they will eventually become older FIRE candidates and will be wishing the government had fixed this damn health care system
The letter referred to from the insurance companies says that they are reserving the right to vary premiums based on certain factors, such as age, size of family, and residence location.

So older people in their 50's and 60's will probably pay a lot more for insurance than a 20 year old. And a really healthy 55 year old will probably pay more for insurance under the new plans than they are now.
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Old 03-25-2009, 06:06 PM   #13
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After my experience applying for individual health insurance, and the several very intrusive personal interviews I was required to endure, I can't imagine the health insurance industry being willing to do anything that is not in their own best interest, i.e. more $$$$ for them, less for us.

As for requiring everyone to have health insurance, just like auto ins., not everyone can afford a car or insurance for it. Not everyone will be able to afford health care, even with lowered premiums. I don't know what the solution for that is except a system like Medicaid, or nothing at all which is what a lot of people now have.
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Old 03-25-2009, 10:27 PM   #14
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Last week I just received a letter from the company where I'm getting COBRA insurance from and my premium for my health insurance for 2009 went from $371/month to $509/month for the same plan.....a 37% increase. Even if health insurance companies don't discriminate based on a person's health status, there's a huge problem. That problem is the cost of health insurance. I really don't see how people will be able to afford health insurance in another 5-10 years unless their employer pays it for them or highly ubsidizes it. How can health insurance companies raise a plan's cost 37% in one year? And many small companies do not offer health insurance to their employees. Where does it leave thos employees? Many of them just can't afford health insurance. Did the cost of covering people really go up that much or are the insurance companies just trying to prop up their profits by raising rates after taking a beating in the stock market?

For those of you who don't want the government to get involved in health insurance or providing health care, what would you suggest as a solution for the obscene increases in the cost of health insurance? I don't see any other way out of this problem other than getting the government involved in some way. The government should force insurance companies into offering affordable plans even if it causes those companies into smaller profits....just like utility companies.
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Old 04-01-2009, 03:19 AM   #15
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Just for the record, I'm in the young and healthy group (paying less than $100/mo for HSA insurance) and yet I'd be glad to pay several times that for true universal coverage, so that I wouldn't have to worry about getting cancelled if I actually needed it.
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Old 04-02-2009, 07:44 PM   #16
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there's a huge problem. That problem is the cost of health insurance. I really don't see how people will be able to afford health insurance in another 5-10 years unless their employer pays it for them or highly ubsidizes it.
Do you accept the fact that the vast majority of us need to pay more into a health insurance system than we take out in order for the system to work?

I agree that health insurance is expensive and hard to get if you're unfortunate enough to be in poor health when you're shopping for it. OTOH, when I see the whopper bills they're paying, sometimes I wonder how they can do it...... When one person needs $100k of treatment in a year, a lot of other folks have to need nothing or near nothing (and still be paying in) in order for it to work out.

Even when we come up with a nationalized plan, the dollars to pay for it all will still have to be collected and in aggreagate will have to be at least equal to the outflow. Otherwise, we'll just have an expanded Medicare system which is headed into financial doom.....
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