To the editor:
I experienced an interesting and painful coincidence this summer that illustrates the control wielded over us middle classers by a powerful insurance industry and a conservative state government.
First, I received a letter from my long-term health care insurance carrier notifying me that the premium for my present level of coverage was increasing 72 percent! Not 20 or 30, but 72 percent! The explanation was that their analysts had not anticipated the fact that people are living longer and medical costs are increasing. So because of their commitment and obligation to me, the insured, this increase was necessary. So they were actually doing me a favor! (I’m paraphrasing, but this was the tone.) Since I have 15 years’ worth of premiums invested in this insurance, what could I do?
Just a few weeks later, I read that Gov. Brownback’s tax overhaul will no longer allow the expense of long-term health care insurance premiums as a deduction for state income tax purposes. As one of those fixed-income seniors, this double whammy to my pocketbook means a realignment of my budget, eliminating one or two charities that I choose to regularly support.
This is one good example of how doing the right thing by trying to provide for myself as I age has absolutely no significance to an insurance company or a state’s conservative agenda. The wealthy get richer, and the middle class and poor bite the bullet.