Insurance is fundamentally a sharing of risk and, while you may not have had a bad claim year, someone in your risk pool did. Another factor in premium increases is the expected increased cost of care and following are the areas where the new healthcare legislation is about to hit all of us very hard.
First, starting in 2012 a new fee will be imposed on health insurance companies to fund comparative effectiveness research.
Additionally, starting in 2014 here are the benefits which will be added to all of our coverage:
1- no more pre-existing conditions limitations can be imposed;
2- everyone is guaranteed coverage irrespective of their health or claims history;
3- there will be no annual limits on coverage;
4- rates will be the same for male and female insureds;
5- “older” insureds’ premiums can be no more than 3 times those of “younger” insureds;
6- smoker rates can be no more than 1 1/2 times those of non-smokers;
7- “essential benefits” will be provided with no lifetime limit;
8- subsidies will be provided for low income individuals and families;
9- a non-deductible premium tax will be imposed on insurance companies.
Each of these benefits has great merit, but each will result in increased costs to the system. Many of the provisions listed already apply to group insurance and we have seen their impact in the past few years in increased premiums compared to individual coverage which did not require the same mandates. This brings us to two questions : first, short of the impact we can have in the voting booth, what can we do to make health insurance affordable; and second, what happened to the promise of guaranteed access to cheap coverage with no pre-existing conditions?
Please forward questions to : firstname.lastname@example.org.