Private health insurance groups are worried about potentially deadly competition from an affordable, government-sponsored health care plan so they’re trying to snow Congress with a new shell game: You mandate that everyone buy health insurance from us, and we’ll end discriminatory rating and pricing based on health status.
In the fine print, they add, “Instead, we’ll screw ’em on age, family size, and geographic location.”
It’s a sweet deal for insurers, increasing their customer base by the 45.7 million uninsured. And since they’ve never been able to charge everyone sky-high premiums for poor health, they now can count on us to age.
Just for the record, they already use age as a weapon in the individual market, imposing gratuitous rate hikes every 5 years.
For Republicans, this suggestion keeps their big-business fox squarely in the hen house and they can shove health care back under the rug and pretend everybody’s getting some.
But Democrats had better not fall for this BS. To make private health insurers the fix — by law — will leave Americans even worse off than they are now. Insurers will have free rein to gouge a captive public while continuing to be the greatest obstacle to medical care.
On a personal note, after Anthem tried to hike my premium another 14% this year, I joined the ranks of the underinsured.
Increasing my annual deductible from $500 to $2,250 and giving up prescription coverage, I lowered my annual premium from $5,172 to $2,592. But Anthem put up a fight.
They tried to place me in a higher risk class (level 3) to get the price for crappy coverage up to $3,456, citing “all” the medications (2) I take for hypertension, and my “unoperated” hiatal hernia, which was diagnosed 2 years ago and has never needed follow-up care. According to Anthem, I’m practically an invalid.
Funny thing is, I reported both these situations last year when applying for cheaper coverage (an annual ritual until I have no insurance), with no effect on my risk rating.
Miracle of miracles, Anthem backed down and reinstated my level 2 rating.
But if Congress plays this latest insurance shell game, people like me will be forced to continue fighting for affordable health care against intractable behemoths like Anthem — until we qualify for a government-run plan — Medicare.
Congress, the writing on the wall couldn’t be clearer. Private health insurers ARE the problem you need to solve.