Friday, September 14, 2012

Health Insurance Premiums – The Kind Republicans Want Everyone to Have – Continue to Increase

The Good News – Only Up 4%

A large component of the ideological divide between Conservatives and the rest of us is that Conservatives believe that private health insurance is the best way to control costs and bring affordable care to everyone.  That is why they support eliminating Medicare and replacing it with a program whereby the government pays part of the premium that would be charged by private insurance.  In their fantasy world this would make things better for senior citizens.  In the real world it only makes things better for wealthy individuals whose low tax rates would be even lower from the savings of having the government pay less and for private insurance companies who would tack a profit on to the costs of the insurance premium, thus raising costs for every senior.

Each year the increase in private health insurance premiums provides evidence that the Republican concept is just not valid.  This year a major research group, the Kaiser Family Foundation, which tracks health care costs has just found that private insurance premiums for family coverage rose 4%.  Before anyone gets all excited about the low increase, consider this from the Kaiser reports.

This year’s premium increase is moderate by historical standards, but outpaced the growth in workers’ wages (1.7 percent) and general inflation (2.3 percent).  Since 2002, premiums have increased 97 percent, three times as fast as wages (33 percent) and inflation (28 percent).

Yep, those private insurance firms sure know how to hold down costs.  Next year the increases are likely to be higher.

In addition to the comprehensive survey conducted in the spring, employers were asked in August whether they had information about the change in premiums (or total cost for self-funded plans) for their current health plan with the largest enrollment.  The average increase reported by employers who had received information for their current plan is 7 percent.

And what about the new health care reform plan enacted by the Obama administration? 

The survey estimates that 2.9 million young adults are currently covered by employer plans this year as a result of a provision in the 2010 Affordable Care Act that allows young adults up to age 26 without employer coverage of their own to be covered as dependents on their parents’ plan. 

Yes just another example of how the ACA is failing.  Failing to keep young people uninsured of course.

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