the state

-of anthem, health “insurance” by jgrimsrud
Sunday, 26 July 2009, 11:03
Filed under: -of health, -of jgrimsrud, -of politik

i recently got notice that my health insurance premium (i buy my own individual coverage, since my wife’s work insurance is ungodly expensive to add family members) was going up about 50% this year.

so, i had a conversation w/ my local insurance agent who told me that anthem, my insurance company, does this every couple of years: they issue new plans, raise the premiums on the older generation(s) of plans, and invite customers to “update” their coverage.  just a simple hassle if you’re young & healthy, but if your situation is more complicated, or has changed (say, you’ve developed a health condition), you now have a pre-existing condition.  so you have to either pay higher rates for the new plan (or face anthem denying your new application) or stay w/ the old plan & watch your premiums rise (in fact, once enough folks jump ship from the old plan, anthem will eventually close the plan all together).

so now, i’m considering dumping anthem & going with a smaller insurer, who’s prices aren’t quite as nice, but who has a (little) better track record of customer respect.  and i’ll happily buy into a “public option” just as soon as congress gets its collective ass in gear & makes it possible.

also, my little health hassle made me all the more interested to hear this fascinating piece on bill moyers’ journal.  check it out here.


7 Comments so far
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I have my own coverage through Anthem now too since I am unemployed. This kind of thing is what I fear most, since I already pay a good bit. I’m ready for Congress to get moving too!

Comment by Emmy

I’m with you. I have Anthem, and have been ever since I was laid off from WVPT in 2007 (Cobra was like $500 per month). Try getting Anthem to pay for… well, anything.

The only people I know who oppose the public health plan are: a) regular Fox News/AM talk radio audience members, b) have health insurance through their jobs, and/or c) have never had serious heath problems (i.e. trouble getting their insurance companies to pay for anything).

I firmly believe this is the only window of opportunity we’re going to have for a public option in 20 years minimum. If Warner or Webb vote against it, I pledge not to vote for them when they’re up for re-election.

Comment by Brent Finnegan

I should qualify that: If Warner or Webb don’t make a sincere effort to help create good, smart health care reform, I won’t vote for them again.

Comment by Brent Finnegan

I agree that something needs to be done about the health care system, but from what I know about Obama’s plan, this isn’t going to fix it. I too have anthem since my divorce in 2006. My son, who is disabled, had private insurance in addition to medicaid for the first 7 years of his life, his father was to continue to provide him insurance but quit his job, since then he has had only Medicaid. With both private insurance as well as medicaid there is always a lot of red tape in order to get things covered. That’s just the nature of the beast. But from our experience working with medicaid, while on one hand its has been a godsend for my son and his special needs a lot of times it can be a real nightmare. So I am leary of a government run plan. I have friends in Britain as well as in Canada who are parents of special needs children who in a minute would trade our health care system for theirs.

If this program is such a great idea for us, why are federal employees exempt from this having to get this insurance. If this plan is great for my family, shouldn’t it be good enough for Obama’s??

Comment by Anne

This is interesting… I got Anthem my senior year of college when I was dropped from my parent’s plan. I got the cheapest I could, and didn’t expect anything from them, given some bad stories I had heard, except some sort of protection from the unlikely event of something that would land me in the hospital. In the 3 or 4 years I had it, it went up probably a total of 25-30%. That and they ended up paying for some things (some blood work, in particular) that I could have sworn wasn’t under my coverage or at least had to go towards my deductible.

Anyhow, I would hate to lose the coverage I have now through work. There are no co-pays and everything is covered with no pre-condition clause. It would be at least $400/month through COBRA

Comment by David Troyer

i agree w/ you both, brent & anne–
i don’t think the democrat party’s plan seems to be headed for perfection. i fear the ideas on the table will get worse before (if) they become law.

but i also agree that now is the window. the public option makes market sense, in that competition may help make the healthcare system more honest, more true to its name. all the insurers function on the same basic business model, a model wherein wall street demands about a 20% margin on the “medical loss ratio.” this means that of each dollar a customer pays for their health insurance premium, 20 cents go to expenses and profit. insurance firms compete for investors & stock prices by keeping the ratio in favor of profit, at the expense of actually paying for health care.

medicare spends about 3% of its average dollar on administration. (take a look @ moyers’ interview w/ former cigna health care p.r. guy wendell potter)

so i say, let the public plan compete w/ the private firms, w/ wall st., & let the market’s invisible hand work for regular people for a change.

Comment by vastate

[…] -of jgrimsrud, -of politik this is actually the bill moyers interview i intended to share w/ my post on anthem health insurance. he talks w/ wendell potter, a long time p.r. man for cigna […]

Pingback by -of healthy markets « the state

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