It's summer, officially the time for health insurance companies to jack up individual health insurance premiums by double digits. Such is the case of Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon, about to increase their never ending shrinking health care coverage by 22.1% on average:
Concerns about surging health care costs drove more than 150 people Thursday to hear Oregon's largest health insurer defend its request to raise premiums an average 22 percent.
In the Oregon Insurance Division's first public hearing for a rate request in more than 20 years, administrator Teresa Miller grilled the president of Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon.
Then Laura Etherton, a health policy advocate for the Oregon State Public Interest Research Group, urged the division to reject the request.
"It is not justified, and it will only make matters worse," she said.
BlueCross sticks it to the self-employed or any other small business buying individual policies every year, with a never ending shrinking pool of customers, now down to 59,447. They used to cover over 100,000 in Oregon but clearly people are dropping out because they cannot afford the premiums. Even with health insurance, these individual policies do not provide enough coverage.
It's not just Oregon, in Connecticut, health insurance premiums have risen 102% in a decade. Even worse, those buying individual health insurance pay the most if they get Cancer. This includes those who have no insurance at all!
Among these patients, those who buy private insurance on their own - instead of through an employer - pay the most out-of-pocket for their health care, compared to patients who have other forms of insurance or none at all.
Of people who had non-group health insurance, 43 out of every 100 spent more than 20 percent of their income on cancer treatment and insurance premiums.
In comparison, 26 out of every 100 people without insurance had high out-of-pocket costs, as did nine out of every 100 people whose employer paid for their insurance.
How does Regence BlueCross BlueSheild of Oregon justify yet another gouging of individuals? By lying about the actual costs of course.
BlueCross claims health care costs have risen 12.6% in a year. O'Reilly? Below is the rise in health care costs from CPI. Graphed are the percentage increases from one year previous. See anything even close to 12.6%? Of course not.
and just Health care services:
and here is just prescription drugs:
What BlueCross BlueShield is doing is sticking it to the most vulnerable, those who are individuals, and treating them as a high risk group. You get to pay individual rates, yet BlueCross gets to treat you like a high risk group. Nice huh. They are not combining and spreading the risk among all policies, bundling individual with group. Nope, individuals get a class all unto themselves, referred to as a death spiral and are clearly getting discriminated against in that process.
You know you cannot even easily find the details of such insurance premium gouging agenda, or decent details on coverage, yet the bottom line, individual health insurance is almost like having no insurance at all.
The Obama administration is supposedly lowering premiums by 40% in 17 States, but there's a catch, you have to have a medical condition and be uninsured for 6 months.
Where's the group rate for individuals, nationwide? Nowhere. Supposedly in 2014, this Obamacare mandate for all to buy health insurance will lower the premiums. Yet a study by the CBO claimed those individual premiums will actually increase by 10-13%. While half of individual policy holders will be given subsidies, it's clear, once again, the individual will get the shaft, for they will not qualify for those subsidies. To buy individual health insurance and obtain a subsidy one can only make 400% of the poverty rate level. So, not only are individuals being classified as high risk defacto, those who are doing better than only 400% above poverty will be the most exposed and vulnerable to the never ending vulture like aspects of the health insurance companies. Talk about punishment for doing well and striking out on your own, this is it!
Even worse, the self-employed are getting screwed on a tax break to be able to write off medical costs, like any other business.
Paula Fleming, a freelance copy editor in Minneapolis, spends $3,600 a year on bare-bones health insurance for herself and her husband. For the 2010 tax year, for the first time, she could deduct that amount from her income when she pays the self-employment tax, the 15 percent levy all freelancers are required to contribute to Social Security and Medicare, saving her $540. Fleming's not counting on the same break for the 2011 tax year, though, because Congress passed it solely for 2010 in last year's Small Business Jobs Act. "When the law no longer applies," she says, "that's more money out the door."
There are a host of other taxes the self-employed pay as well, including all of social security and medicare, yet the benefits of these programs are now under attack to be reduced.
While lobbyists twist the buzz phrase, innovation to really mean global labor arbitrage, American entrepreneurs suffer. The truth is those starting a business, in particular the self-employed are getting the shaft. From individual health insurance to taxes to retirement and especially in terms of getting paid, people trying to work for themselves have almost no legal recourse to collect, unlike wages.
If they want people to start businesses, they need to offer better tax advantages, and especially benefits for people. Else, one is tethered to the wage slave job, stuck being a corporate drone, simply to get some sort of health insurance. Most businesses start out as one and punishing that one when corporations are slashing jobs and shipping them overseas is unAmerican. Punishing people for striking out on their own is what is going on here and that's a policy no American, left, right, center and fringe, will sign onto.