MN Prairie Roots: Health Care reform does NOT mean lower premiums

My health insurance premium arrived in the mail yesterday. Happy holidays!

Not.

It’s due shortly before Christmas.

Bah! Humbug!

In mid-June, the premium increased from $801 to $813 for three months of coverage. Do the math. That’s $271 per month or $3,252 a year.

I am not happy.

Here’s the deal. I foolishly thought healthcare reform would mean lower premiums and lower costs for medical visits, in other words, more affordable healthcare for families like mine. We are not wealthy. We live in a modest home in a modest neighborhood. We have no debt. We spend carefully and wisely.

But when it comes to health insurance, I believe the word “affordable” cannot fit, cannot even be squeezed, into the same sentence.

I pay $271 a month for coverage with a $3,000 deductible. In other words, my coverage is basically major medical.

I’ve evaluated getting onto my husband’s plan at work. That would cost me even more than the individual policy I have as a self-employed writer. His employer pays only a small portion of his health insurance premium and my spouse, too, has a high deductible.

I haven’t crunched the numbers lately, but my family (which also includes one still-at-home 16-year-old) is forking out a lot of money every month for health insurance.

Yet, we rarely go to the doctor because of the high deductibles and the high cost of healthcare. Cost is a great deterrent for skipping routine exams. I’m just being honest here.

Another problem I face is past medical history. I had total hip replacement surgery in 2008. I will need a new, and very costly, hip in 15 – 20 years. Insurance companies have these policies about pre-existing conditions.  So, even if I was to look for different insurance, the hip would likely be excluded from coverage.

I have no answers to any of this. I just know that I am sick and tired of the high cost of health insurance and of healthcare.

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS on the topic and do you have any answers? What are you spending every month on health insurance premiums?

This post was written by Audrey Kletscher Helbling and originally published on Minnesota Prairie Roots.

Comments (5)

  1. Submitted by Joe Williams on 11/29/2010 - 12:17 pm.

    I think a lot of the reforms are yet to be enacted, and since our Dear Governor refuses to take the steps necessary to set up the market based health insurance exchanges, I am not surprised that premiums haven’t gone down yet.

  2. Submitted by Bernice Vetsch on 11/29/2010 - 04:23 pm.

    The new federal plan has many good points, but I believe the insurance and drug companies are rquired only to try their best not to increase premiums and drug prices, so reductions in these two costs are apparently not going to be among them.

    Check out the Minnesota Health Plan (SF118/HF135), a single-payer plan for Minnesota, at the web site for the Minnesota Universal Health Care Coalition (www.muhcc.org) to see how things could be for Minnesotans who are tired of paying more and getting less.

  3. Submitted by Mary Ellen Thompson on 11/30/2010 - 08:14 pm.

    I would like to know where you got your insurance. I am self-employed too, and I joined a group to get a better rate but I pay $404 per month for my premium and my deductible is $3,750. That is just for me. So even if I never see a doctor I pay $4,848 per year. If I go to the doc and meet my deductible, it’s $8,598 per year. It’s outrageous.

  4. Submitted by Audrey Kletscher Helbling on 12/02/2010 - 06:04 pm.

    I have my individual health insurance plan through Blue Cross Blue Shield. I have no idea how rates are determined, but I’m certain age (I’m 54), gender, general health, smoker/non-smoker, etc. factor into premiums.

    I agree that the price you are paying for health insurance, especially with that high deductible, is outrageous.

  5. Submitted by Karen Sandness on 12/05/2010 - 09:18 am.

    I am one of the people Casey Selix profiled a couple of years ago in her series on health insurance. I had an individual policy from one of the Big Three that was reasonable when I first enrolled in 2003 ($210 a month for a $1000 deductible), but by 2010, it had risen to $248 for a $5,000 deductible. (I had to raise my deductible a couple of years ago in order to keep the premiums affordable.)

    When I suffered an injury last winter, treatment was more than I could afford during a slow period for my business, but it was still under the deductible. I spent 7 months paying off three different providers, while the insurance company continued to withdraw $248 from my bank account every month (the only way they accept payment) and provided no benefits except mailing out pieces of paper explaining why treatment wasn’t covered.

    I was approaching a milestone birthday (one that ends in -5 or -0), and I knew from experience that this would automatically bump up my rates in addition to the average 10% annual increases. I took a deep breath and dropped my insurance in April.

    I’ve looked at the current rates for a $5000 deductible at my age: $331 a month.

    The problem with Obama’s health care bill is that, despite all the radio talk of “socialism,” it is about as unsocialist a bill as one could imagine. It is simply Mitt Romney’s Massachusetts Health Plan (compulsory private insurance) applied to the whole country, and Massachusetts has the highest insurance costs *in the world.*

    Socialist? Ha! Corporate welfare-ist is more like it.

    What will I do when 2014, the year of compulsory private insurance, rolls around? Hope that state efforts toward single-payer health care (in Minnesota and elsewhere) have gained some momentum? Move to a lower cost country? Just pay the fine until I’m eligible for Medicare? I’m keeping my options open.

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