Outrage Du Jour - Oregon, California, Maine, Kansas Individual Health Insurance Premium Gouge

While all of the news is abuzz on California BlueCross Anaheim trying to jack individuals on a 39% insurance premium increase, guess what, other states are doing it too!

Even worse, the main stream press even covering these rate increases, which somehow are rubber stamped approved by state regulatory boards, are quoting low ball rate increases. Case in point is Oregon where it's quoted to be a 14.2% increase generally in the press.

Here is the truth in Oregon:

The overall average rate increase was 14.2 percent. That included a 17.7 percent increase for individual plans and 11.2 percent jump for small businesses.

Individual rates climbed, for example, 16.9 percent for PacificSource Health Plans, 14.5 percent for Providence Health Plan, and 7 percent for the Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of the Northwest.

The state Insurance Division reports that the average cost of health insurance per person in Oregon in 2007 was $166 for individual plans, $262 for small group premiums and $283 for large group.

See that buried in the details? The truth is individuals did not get a 15% increase, but a 17.7% increase and that's from last years, 26% rate increase. Other increase quotes:

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 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.

Here's the thing, states are not passing emergency legislation right now to do something. Look at the health insurance companies gloat on how they can get away with this:

Most states don't have the legal authority to block or reduce health insurance rate increases.

So, don't let the focus be on just California and believe me, you can call your State representatives and demand they take action, right now, to stop this gouging. They can, if you are not aware of this, the states regulate insurance.

The Federal Government may be crippled, but the States actually can act on health care, including the insurance companies.

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I bet I know the answer

I'm guessing those cost increases are due to the massive cost efficiency brought about by all those health sector leveraged buyouts.

Of course, I could be mistaken....

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