Thursday, February 11, 2010
I have had an Anthem Blue Cross individual health insurance policy for about the last 8 years. Every January they adjust the rate. Overall the rate adjustments have been relative slight. In fact, last year my premium actually went down a few dollars.
I turn 65 next month, so I have signed up for Medicare and can drop the private plan. A couple of weeks ago, I got my annual letter from Anthem Blue Cross about my premium. The cost is increasing from $360/month to $494/month, a healthy 37% increase for a plan with a $5000 deductible. If I wanted to increase the deductible to $7500, the cost would be $397/month. My first thought was that they don't want me to keep their insurance. They know I am turning 65 and can assume that I am going on Medicare. They just want to help me along by giving me an obscene rate increase.
Notice my surprise when I read this article - WellPoint price hike defense fails to satisfy feds. (Anthem Blue Cross is part of WellPoint) They are raising the rates in California by an average of 39%. Little did I realize that they were encouraging me to stay with them by raising my rates only 37%.
I still smiled when I called them up and told them to cancel my policy.
Let me add, Medicare is not free. Between the medical coverage and the drug plan, it will cost about $150/month, but that is a vast improvement over what I would have to pay for a private plan. Granted, because I am old, the government is subsidizing the cost. If we had Medicare for all, the cost would be higher for those under 65 because they would have to pay the full cost. But it would still be much less than private insurance.
So, remind me again why we are subsidizing private insurance companies with our hard earned money when the government has the ability to provide coverage at a lower cost to us?