I just got a letter with my last paycheck statement from my employer that says health insurance rates are going up this year — no big surprise, that’s what they always do.
The letter said that Blue Shield was raising its rates. The letter did not say directly whether that meant I would see more money coming out of my paycheck (I pay part of the premium and the employer pays part). What it did say was that in reaction to the rate raise the company was changing to another Blue Shield Plan. I don’t know what all that means yet. I suspect it means less coverage for more money — that has usually been the case.
OKAY, I just called and found out. I could stay on my current plan, but I would be facing a 60-plus percent rate increase out of my own pocket, but I can move to another plan with a higher deductible and actually get a slightly smaller premium than I am currently paying. Like I said, I basically have to pay more money for less coverage (as Dr. Phil would say: how‘s that working for you?).
Again, I ask, where is the savings?
I also have to wonder why it is that health insurance is going up when the annual rate of inflation is going down, from past years. During most of my life inflation was considered to be a big problem in the economy. Now most everyone is concerned about deflation, well, except not in the health care industry, I guess.
This post is a kind of continuation of one I did a few days ago on Obamacare — and by the way, I want to make it clear that I am not necessarily against Obamacare. For all I know it may actually be positive — I just don‘t know yet (and at 61 with incurable cancer, but thankfully presently kind of dormant, I may never find out). All I really said in that post was rates seem to be going up and medical specialists are reportedly looking for other work since government payments are going down.
Subsequently I was forwarded an article from one of my readers suggesting that a positive effect of the new health care law is that small businesses are flocking to get coverage for their employees as the result of a tax break being offered in that law.
That was interesting, but it was obvious that the author of the article was an advocate for Obamacare. Also, why would anyone work for an employer who did not offer health insurance or why would an employer not offer health insurance if the employer cared anything about its employees — being that we do not have full-blown government health care for everyone (socialized medicine if you will)? The answer is some of us have to take what we can get and some business people actually do not care.
But anyway, while the article seemed to suggest that Obamacare was inducing small businesses to take a positive step, I also note that the tax breaks are temporary and that past 2014 some businesses will actually face a penalty if they do not offer health care (and since society as a whole seems to think health care should be tied to employment, I would think the mandate is correct).
Not that it makes any difference, but I am certainly willing to give Obamacare the benefit of the doubt. But I will be tiresome here and repeat that I think they should have just extended Medicare to everyone. Now of course that has to be paid for. So pay for it through taxes like we do everything else for the shared benefit of society. At least it would (or should) be tax money well spent — good health for all.
In the end, it really broke down to this: supporters of Obamacare (Democrat and Republican) wanted to pass something that would provide health care to all and without going to a strictly socialist approach, leaving in private health insurance as a major component of the whole system.
Opponents represented primarily those who just did not want to give Democrats a victory and thus political advantage, as well as the Scrooge set.