I’m not an expert on health care, health insurance, and certainly not on the way that government works. But, I like to think that I have some modicum of common sense. So, it’s with great trepidation that I see this health care bill.
My biggest concern is the cost of health insurance. My company covers a significant portion of our health insurance, but if rates rise, they very well could pass that expense on to us. If that happened, I don’t know if we could afford it.
Many people are lauding this bill and saying how great it is that people can’t be denied because of pre-existing conditions and that there is no more cap on payouts. Yes and no. Yes, I think there should be something available to even those with pre-existing conditions. But there already was! Now, the insurance agencies are going to be forced to cover them just the same as their low risk customers. I don’t have any solid numbers, but my math says that will make my rates go up.
Does anyone else understand any of that differently?
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Actually, companies won’t be interested in passing on rising costs to employees. This is because one aspect of the bill is to tax companies (with over 50 employees) if their health care premiums are too expensive to their employees. The idea is that employers won’t want to choose plans that create the problem for them, so insurance agencies might actually have to cater to consumers for a change.
And, currently, the insurance programs make more than enough money to cover those people who have pre-existing conditions. So they don’t *need* to raise rates. Under the new provisions, employers will have a lot to lose if they don’t offer health care — and at least a little to lose if they don’t make sure it’s affordable.
Not to mention, you could always opt out of your employer’s plan, if you decide it’s too high, and try for one of the individual plans, which will have cost caps based on your income. Granted, those individual plans won’t be in place right away, but they will be there in the next couple of years.
P.S. It’s not like they weren’t already being randomly and significantly ranged anyway, even when the insured did not incur large — or even many — expenses. If insurance companies want to raise rates, they don’t need excuses and never have.
Argh, sorry to clutter up your comments section, but I forgot to point out… You said, “I think there should be something available to even those with pre-existing conditions. But there already was!”
Actually, there wasn’t. In Washington state, my husband couldn’t get individual coverage from any carrier because he had had MRSA twice in under five years. (He’d had it a lot more than that, but if you checked yes to the “two or more times in five years” question, you’d be disqualified.)
He had to enter a high-risk insurance pool run by the state. Here in Arizona, where we had to move so he could actually be healthy, there is no such pool. So there isn’t always something to cover people with pre-existing conditions. And the latest fad was to give people coverage but with a waiver. So he could have coverage but if, say, he were hospitalized with anything that even remotely was connected to his eczema, it wouldn’t be covered at all.
I am not sure what you were referring to when you said there already were products, but that is definitely not true. In *some* states, there are options. But nothing is mandatory and certainly nothing is uniform among the states. One blogger (DogAteMyFinances) even got turned down for individual insurance because of her mild asthma. It’s pretty terrifying.
Beating Broke says
You’re right, companies won’t want to pass off the costs. Which means they’ll either have to eat the extra costs or take the penalty. At it’s highest estimate, the penalty will be $2000 per employee per year. What happens when the rise in premium exceeds $2000? Suddenly, you have a whole lot of people who have to go and find their own insurance.
Those individual plans? Along with the mandated offering of insurance through businesses? Not offered until 2014 in any case. Which leaves the insurance companies 4 years to realize that they’ll be losing money on having to treat everybody who decides they can buy insurance the day they are diagnosed with something instead of actually carrying insurance. Once they do realize that (if they don’t already), premiums will rise. And you can bet that that cost will get passed right on through to employees and individuals while it can be. There’s nothing to stop it for 4 years!
There is and always has been health care for people with pre-exisisting problems. Health insurance is another story. But, all anyone has talked about is how health care is a right but they only want to give me health insurance.
There should have been some incredible reforms to the insurance system as well as tort reform, instead we got another bloated medicare/medicaid bill.
The way I understand it, either Insurance companies are going to start losing a lot of money, or our rates will go up. One of those two things are going to have to happen. As a result of the additional expenses associated with covering more people with prexisting conditions alone the Insurance companies will have to do something to correct that loss.
Abigail, you said “So they don’t *need* to raise rates”, but I think they will. Just like anything else, the more the government taxes it, the company will pass it on to the consumer. Same thing happened with Cap and Trade. The cost of EVERYTHING would go up beacuse ALL OF US use energy.
Daddy Paul says
Of course the insurance company has to raise rates! Your company will only pay so much. Guess who is going to have to pony up?
Health Insurance Providers says
Yup, rates will rise – even with the governments “looter” mentality to try and curb the profits of the health insurance companies (who btw have relatively low profit margins compared to most other industries). BTW here is a cool graphic displaying the new changes in visual form: http://www.healthinsuranceproviders.com/health-care-reform/
Roger, The Amateur Financier says
I’ve expressed exactly these types of concerns in my own blog entry on the subject (here: ). It’s a noble goal, but there’s a lot to be desired from this bill. Insurance companies have to insure people, can’t turn them away for pre-existing conditions, and have to charge the same premiums to everyone? That might (high emphasis on MIGHT) work if you can convince/force all the younger, healthier people to join; but with the relatively low penalties for not having health insurance, why not just skip it until you need it, pay the tax penalties (capped at 2.5% of AGI, about $1250 for someone making $50,000 a year, or about one quarter of what I pay for insurance, myself), and leap in to get insurance after you’re diagnosed with an illness? I just hope there’s something I’m missing, something that will keep people from taking advantage of the system like this, but so far, I’m not seeing it.