Staggering rate hikes are not rare

My current and apparently “substandard” Group Health insurance costs $415/month (for my wife and 22-year-old son) with a $5,500 family deductible that must be satisfied before any insurance kicks in. Oh, they do get one included physical each per year. I had always thought it was substandard too, but my dissatisfaction was based on the fact that I have to pay $4,980 in premiums each year plus $2,750 for each family member before any real coverage becomes effective and even then there is a 20 percent co-pay.

Along comes the Affordable Care Act and my “substandard” policy is cancelled to be replaced with an improved Bronze plan. Now the premium is $733/month and the family deductible is $8,000. In reality, the plans are quite similar except that I now have drug, maternity and pediatric coverage that we don’t need. I understand how insurance works, I understand that those who can pay need to help those who cannot and that plans need to be somewhat generic to cover a broad range of needs and I am fine with all of that, but a 75 percent premium increase plus a huge hit on the deductible has staggered me.

The Washington state Health Exchange did not provide any relief; my plan is one of the less expensive options! Don’t believe the opinions The Herald insists on feeding us (written I am sure by authors who do not pay their own premiums) insisting that situations like mine are rare. Healthy families, who pay for their own insurance and make an OK living (far from rich) are all seeing unbelievable increases. We were led to believe that the uninsured masses were adding to the overall cost of medical care in the U.S. and that bringing them into the fold would reduce the cost for all of us … not working for many of us so far.

The deceit from the very beginning has been in the failure to truthfully recognize the cost of universal health care and how it is to be paid for. Contrary to popular belief, the system in Canada works very well, really, I lived there for 20 years but it is hugely expensive and paid for by taxes. From what I can see, very little in the ACA addresses the root problem which is the cost of health care. Until this is aggressively tackled “affordable health care” will remain a depressing oxymoron and the problems will get worse and worse.

Chris Mann


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