Archive for Saturday, February 13, 2010

Insurance rates soar in Kan., other states

February 13, 2010


— Consumers in at least four states who buy their own health insurance are getting hit with premium increases of 15 percent or more — and people in other states could see the same thing.

Anthem Blue Cross, a subsidiary of WellPoint Inc., has been under fire for a week from regulators and politicians for notifying some of its 800,000 individual policyholders in California that it plans to raise rates by up to 39 percent March 1.

The Anthem Blue Cross plan in Maine is asking for increases of about 23 percent this year for some individual policyholders. Last year, they raised rates up to 32 percent.

Kansas had one recent case where one insurer wanting to raise most individual rates 20 percent to 30 percent was persuaded by state insurance officials to reduce the increases to 10 percent to 20 percent. The insurance department would not identify the company but said it was not Anthem.

And in Oregon, multiple insurers were granted rate hikes of 15 percent or more this year after increases of around 25 percent last year for customers who purchase individual health insurance, rather than getting it through their employer.

Premiums are far more volatile for individual policies than for those bought by employers and other large groups, which have bargaining clout and a sizable pool of people among which to spread risk. As more people have lost jobs, many who are healthy have decided to go without health insurance or get a bare-bones, high-deductible policy, reducing the amount of premiums insurers receive.

Steep rate hikes in this sliver of the insurance market — about 13 million Americans, as of 2008 — have popped up sporadically for years. Experts see them becoming increasingly common.

“You’re going to see rate increases of 20, 25, 30 percent” for individual health policies in the near term, Sandy Praeger, chairwoman of the health insurance and managed care committee for the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, predicted Friday.

Most states don’t have the legal authority to block or reduce health insurance rate increases, noted Praeger, who is also the Kansas insurance commissioner.

“When you see stories like (Anthem’s), you can almost guarantee there’s going to be increased consumer protection activity” in state legislatures, she said.

Her group doesn’t track rates state by state, but Praeger said it likely will start doing so, “if we don’t get any kind of meaningful reform at the federal level.”

Politicians and even some health insurers, including Anthem, are urging a revival of the stalled effort in Congress to overhaul the health care system, arguing everyone needs to be covered by health insurance in order to prevent such premium spikes.


just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 4 months ago

Healthcare reform is now dead, so they're just doing a bit of celebratory gouging.

Sharon Aikins 8 years, 4 months ago

The state's high risk insurance pool is itself unaffordable. This year my premiums would have been over $1,100 a month with high deductibles. No wonder people in Kansas can't afford health insurance. I couldn't any longer. And because of pre-existing conditions, no one else will insure me.

Richard Heckler 8 years, 4 months ago

Here are 10 great reasons to support the U.S. National Health Insurance Act:

  1. Everybody In, Nobody Out. Universal means access to health care for everyone, period.

  2. Portability. If you are unemployed, or lose or change jobs, your health coverage stays with you.

  3. Uniform Benefits. No Cadillac plans for the wealthy and Pinto plans for everyone else, with high deductibles, limited services, caps on payments for care, and no protection in the event of a catastrophe. One level of comprehensive care for everyone, regardless of the size of your wallet.

  4. Prevention. By removing financial roadblocks, a universal health system encourages preventive care that lowers an individual's ultimate cost and pain and suffering when problems are neglected and societal cost in the over-utilization of emergency rooms or the spread of communicable diseases.

  5. Choice. Most private insurance restricts your choice of providers and hospitals. Under the U.S. National Health Insurance Act, patients have a choice, and the provider is assured a fair payment.

  6. No Interference with Care. Caregivers and patients regain their autonomy to decide what's best for a patient's health, not what's dictated by the billing department. No denial of coverage for pre-existing conditions or cancellation of policies for "unreported" minor health problems.

  7. Reducing Waste. One third of every private health insurance dollar goes for paperwork and profits, compared to about 3% under Medicare, the federal government’s universal system for senior citizen healthcare.

  8. Cost Savings. A guaranteed health care system can produce the cost savings needed to cover everyone, largely by using existing resources without the waste. Taiwan, shifting from a U.S. private health care model, adopted a similar system in 1995, boosting health coverage from 57% to 97% with little increase in overall health care spending.

  9. Common Sense Budgeting. The public system sets fair reimbursements applied equally to all providers, private and public, while assuring that appropriate health care is delivered, and uses its clout to negotiate volume discounts for prescription drugs and medical equipment.

  10. Public Oversight. The public sets the policies and administers the system, not high priced CEOs meeting in private and making decisions based on their company’s stock performance needs.

Richard Heckler 8 years, 4 months ago

If millions of healthy insured dropped their policies not only would they save thousands of dollars the insurance industry would faint in disbelief that this many people actually are awake and give a damn.

Paying out of pocket will save thousands of dollars a year.

Set up a health care investment account or annuity that makes YOU money instead of wealthy CEO's. Your health care annuity will NOT cancel out on when the poop hits fan.

Sooner or later more will do the same. Suddenly all of america would realize the medical insurance business has been doing nothing but making tons and tons of profit by way of fear mongering.

At that point all would see that america could have insurance at a much much lower rate such as 225 a month for the best coverage in the world that includes an entire family of four. How? IMPROVED Medicare Insurance for All.

Now more money is available to invest smart instead of supporting high rollin executives and shareholders.

Maybe get on with that home improvement with cash instead of borrowing from the bank.....just maybe.

Maybe go to Jamaica for a few weeks instead of supporting high rollin executives and shareholders.

Most consumers are under-insured = candidate for bankruptcy. Most coverage WILL NOT stick with consumers when the going gets tough = fraud.

What could be done with that high profit middle man money that which DOES NOT provide health care?

  1. Home Improvements = jobs

  2. Invest in a green annuity

  3. Create a college investment account for children

  4. Purchase a fuel efficient auto = money saved and secures jobs in the automotive industry

  5. Buy gifts for a lover which improves ones quality of life and boosts a local economy

  6. Buy a second home in the Rocky Mountains = helps reduce number of homes for sale

  7. Keep an existing vehicle in top running condition = dollars saved and clean air

  8. Landscape a yard to reduce mowing substantially and requires far less water = conservation of natural resources and more money in the wallet

10.Donate to a local zoo or library.


  1. Improved Medicare Health Insurance for All is far better for America any option on the table.

Blunt 8 years, 4 months ago

Redmoon, if you had worked during your life instead of laying around at home all the time, you would have disability. No one to blame but yourself....

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