Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Insurance Premium Increase

Updated 3/2017 -- all links (except to my own posts) removed as many no longer active. and it was easier than checking each one.

Physicians aren’t exempt from the struggles with personal health insurance coverage, affordability, denied coverage, etc.   When I finished my training and opened my practice 20 years ago I had to buy individual coverage.   All options included a rider that excluded coverage on my uterus and ovaries due to fibroid surgery during training.  So when I had my TAH & BSO a few years later, the entire cost came out of my pocket.  Fortunately, I knew how to ask for cost reductions, but still…
My husband and I are both small business individuals.   I have always carried our health insurance under my name (office).  Over the years we have gone to a health savings account with a high deductible to keep the cost reasonable.  Fortunately, we have been mostly healthy.
Last month, we received a letter from Assurant Health telling us of a policy change that includes a $75 ER visit charge.  I thought this might be their way of avoiding a policy increase, but no.  Last week I received the notice regarding an increase to our policy.  Currently, our premium is $619.76 per month plus a mandatory $100 deposit into the HSA each month. 
The notice included the “good news”  -- “Congratulation!  You’re a Healthy Discount candidate.”  To determine your eligibility for the Healthy Discount, follow these simply instructions:  1.  Answer all six questions below.  Please consider the last 12 month when answering these questions……”
  • Been recommended or scheduled for surgery that has not been complete?
  • Been recommended to have or is anyone contemplating infertility treatment or been treated for infertility?
  • Received or been recommended to have any treatment for alcoholism, alcohol or drug abuse or addiction or mental or nervous conditions?
  • Been cited for operating a moving vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs?
  • Received a diagnosis for any serious medical condition such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, HIV, AIDS, or any other progressive disabling condition?
  • Been incapacitated or hospitalized due to an accident or illness?
The “good news” is that since we can answer no to all six of those questions, our new premium will be $761.71 per month rather than $842.87 per month.  The mandatory $100 deposit into our HSA remains the same.
A simple 23% increase rather than a 36% increase. 

Earlier this year policy increases of up to 39% in California, Indiana, etc led The House Committee on Energy and Commerce to summon the chiefs of WellPoint, UnitedHealth Group, Humana and Aetna to the Hill to answer questions.  Policy increases by other companies seem to be flying under the radar.

If you missed them, check out the posts by Shadowfax here and here on Assurant Health.


StorytellERdoc said...

I know, Ramona. I cringe when I think of where this all might lead...if you are sick in my parts, you got a free ER visit! LOL

Hope this finds you well.

Oh, and "congratulations" on your awesome 23% increase! LOL

mark's tails said...

Ofcourse insurance companies claim they have to raise rates to keep up with the rising cost of healthcare. Still hard to take when you realize that Assurant pays a dividend on their stock of 1.6% and their profile reads as follows:

"Assurant, a Fortune 500 company and a member of the S&P 500, is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol AIZ. Assurant has more than $25 billion in assets and $8 billion in annual revenue."

Eric, AKA The Pragmatic Caregiver said...

Only 23%? They must have forgot something. ;0)

My lack of love for Ass***** is legendary. Since you've got comprehensive coverage and would have to be accepted by a new carrier without medical underwriting in most states, I'd say it's time to see whose pools aren't actuarial death spirals.


A UK reader said...

I know that the UK NHS isn't perfect, but personally I am very pleased to know that it's there, and by and large it's free. I've experienced private treatment and NHS treament and would prefer to be an NHS patient. Of course there are waiting lists, and you can't choose who you see, and maybe you'd get better treatment if you paid (or maybe not), but by and large you see the same people, and NHS hospitals are better equipped than private hospitals. So I would strongly recommend US citizens to support a move to a system more like ours.

ER's Mom said...

You know, when I went from a private practice to being a hospital employee, my insurance costs went from near $900/month (for a family) to $300/month (my husband doesn't get coverage from where he works, so I work for our benefits).

That's a very large functional raise! Just because I'm covered under a big company now.

And we rarely use it...(thank goodness)

BrainDame said...

There really is something wrong in this health care world-Medicare rates to doctors are level or go down, most insurance companies tie their reimbursements to Medicare, our cost rise and in 2009 WellPoint (the Blues) netted 2.7 BILLION in profit. Why does Alice in Wonderland come to mind? This is some distorted looking glass.