In case you haven’t heard, individual health insurance policies are scheduled for a substantial premium increase starting in January 2017.
The reason that these increases have been approved by the State Insurance Commissioner is because the big losses that have been suffered by insurance carriers need to be absorbed.
A year or so ago, our State’s leading health insurance carrier, Wellmark, was publicly criticized for the amount of dollars they had in reserves. Well, as it turns out, thank goodness for all of us (particularly if you were a patient receiving services) because Wellmark was able to sustain and pay all of our providers. Providers are hospitals, urgent care facilities, doctor’s offices, laboratories and every specialty of the medical field you can imagine, ambulance, air ambulance, prescription drugs and the list is endless.
However, if you remember several years back, prior to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), becoming a law in 2010, Americans were promised that they would not have to change doctors and that the average family would have a premium savings of approximately $2,500 per year.
What this means for consumers is that insurance carries are asking for sharp price increases after suffering big losses on exchanges in the last two years. One of the underlying problems that presented a huge liability was an expiration of the re-insurance program under the Affordable Care Act that was intended to offset some of the losses due to sicker customers who racked up high medical bills.
Open enrollment is at the end of the year for January effective dates. My suggestion to you would be to call me any time this summer so that we can develop a strategy. I will look at your current plan and the choices you had at that time and see if this plan is working as well for you as you wanted to, what your other choices look like at the time and try to figure out all of the details that are important to you. So, in fourth quarter when I have access to 2017 rates, we’ve got a general idea of what you’d like to do.
If any of you happen to be business owners, we might want to contemplate the pros and cons of looking at group insurance and stepping out of the individual insurance arena. We do have options, there’s always more than one way to look at anything, so please call me, I’m here to help.