No, it's not the National Anthem, but one that you're less familiar with, unless you happen to need individual health insurance in many states. One of 800,000 policyholders in California for example. And what has this Blue Cross / Blue Shield company now named Anthem Blue Cross done now? Made an announcement that it will raise rates as much as 39% to some policyholders in California. And, perhaps raise rates more than once a year too!
Although Anthem's parent company, WellPoint made a 4.75 billion dollars profit in the last quarter of 2009, it seems they have lost millions on health care. Good Lord! I'd be willing to lose millions to make billions! Seems like a damned good trade off if you ask me. But then again, it seems greed has no boundaries where health insurance is concerned. Blue Cross also states their proposed rates reflect anticipated medical costs. Don't you wish you could ask that your salary reflect your anticipated living costs? It seems Anthem doesn't give a damn about your living costs at all, as long as they can nail you on your health care. To add insult to injury, the State of California estimates the rate hikes would affect 700,000 customers and average 25% with some as high as 39%.
The State of California has asked, and Anthem has agreed to postpone its rate hikes from March 1 until May 1 so the State can conduct an audit. Here's a link to the news story:
The individual policies are purchased by people who are out of work and are no longer covered by employer policies. Many take relatively high deductible policies so they can afford the premiums, then when they become sick or injured, that have a big deductible of thousands of dollars to pay before Anthem pays a cent on their policy.
When people are forced to make a choice between the roof over their heads, food and insurance, it's a no-brainer that the insurance is dropped. Plus, if you feel well, maybe you believe you won't need the insurance coverage right now. Many out-of-work people can't afford the standard premiums and when they are increased, drop the coverage, adding to the huge pool of uninsured people that in the event of emergency the taxpayers somehow support, or that the medical providers and insurance companies, in their greed, will drive into bankruptcy. There are the two choices and I need not delineate who falls into either category.
A friend received a big increase on her policy premium, and when she asked what she could do about it, Anthem representatives suggested she "increase the deductible." She already has a $5000 deductible, so they suggest she consider $7500 or even $10,000 deductible to keep monthly premiums down. Pretty shrewd since they won't pay for her doctor visits, tests, or any procedures until she pays at least $7500 or $10,000 out of pocket first. And that's in addition to the high premium she already pays for coverage! And, don't even think that any deductible amount is all you will have to pay. On some policies, the "annual out of pocket limit" excludes the deductible, so you might have a $5000 deductible plus a $2500 out of pocket limit making your costs $7500 plus the cost of the policy, before you see any significant policy benefits.
Another ripoff, in my opinion, is the "calendar year" scam insurance companies pull. Purchase a policy in mid-year and if you become ill in any following year just before the policy year ends, they will tell you everything is based on the policy year which is 12 months. So some of your benefits are in the current policy year and some in the next, which boggles up your calculations when figuring out your actual deductible and out of pocket limits. Yet when January 1 rolls along, your deductible starts all over again, and your trips to the doctor and medications become your expenses until you reach that deductible and out of pocket plateau. The only benefit is that if you see a doctor or other provider who accepts your insurance, they have set fees for the insurance companies versus cash patients, and you pay only what the insurance company would pay.
I don't agree with the current administration ramming health care down the peoples' throats in the way it has been done. But we need some form of affordable health care for all Americans. There needs to be a way to take companies that abuse the trust of their subscribers, and make billions while doing it, and say, you're done. You'll not sell another policy until you prove you are not making money on the policies you are already holding. The states regulate the property-casualty and workers compensation and other insurance markets. Time to step in and lasso in these mavericks before they destroy the lives of more Americans with their greed and careless approach to human life. Because that's what health care is all about. Caring...for and about humans and their lives and their future. Corporate greed doesn't have a place in care.