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January 28, 2011


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My rates went up by a couple hundred a month, plus my deductible went up $1000. That was a nice surprise when the baby came and our HSA was $1000 short. We barely had enough in there *before* the deductible went up.

"Wasn't the new health care bill supposed to LOWER the costs of medical care?"

Always remember the old joke: How do you tell if a politician is lying? Their lips are moving.

I'm 24. I have an anxiety disorder. Meaning "pre-existing" is practically tattooed into any insurance policy I might buy - my last policy was almost $300/mo. For myself only. I'm thrilled to have ObamaCare allow me back on my parents' insurance for awhile.

That being said, I think it's one of the only good things about the plan, and really, the best thing would be for regulation on insurance agencies, not an all-encompassing socialistic ideal (which only works if everyone is paying 30%+ in income taxes..and even then there are limitations).

Insurance companies and their lobbyist want us to think that ObamaCare(I really don't like this term, sounds kind of demeaning doesn't it?) is driving up costs. However, most of the bill hasn't even came into effect yet. Costs are going up because those companies are hoarding money just like a lot of other companies, but also I'm sure they want it to make it look like the healthcare bill is the problem. I say think and read between the lines, and think with your wallet second. Sorry FMF I didn't mean to make it political. I just wanted to give the otherside's point of view.

I have no idea if my health insurance through my husband's employer went up- I've asked him before and he says he has no idea how much it takes out of his paycheck! He does know that adding a spouse adds $0 to his premiums though, so that's why I have insurance through his employer- it's free insurance for me (if we had kids, we would have to pay for them, though).

As for my employer, I don't get insurance through them, but they have absorbed the cost of the increased premiums for several years. It is still the same price to employees as it has been for the past several years. This is over $1800 in costs per insured employee per year they have absorbed (if you subtract what it was several years ago when they last increased premiums from the price now if they charged employees more for the premiums instead of absorbing it). I don't get health insurance through my employer, but it makes me have more respect for them that they are willing to do that. Lord knows the partners make hand over fist in money anyway.

Our health insurance went up, and it seems to cover less every year. It is so incredibly frustrating.

I do not think its 'Obamacare' that is causing rates to go up right now, its just employers having to shift more cost to employees since overall costs are going up. I think most of you would be surprised that costs are going up more than just because insurance companies are bad and evil. Insurance business is getting cut throat and there margins are actually going down.

Look into why a Tylenol costs you $50 a pill when you are hospitalized.

Hint: You are paying for those who don't have to pay anything when they go to the ER

Technically, mine went down.

But, that is because they went up, and my small company decided to force us to a high-deductible plan to save money on their end, since they pay half. Don’t get me wrong, it actually worked out okay for me, because I’m healthy and don’t have any chronic conditions or anything, but it took a bit of adjustment.

Ultimately, my check stayed about the same, because I put the difference between the old plan (pre price raise) and the new in my HSA (not quite sufficient to cover my deductible in the long run… still working on that).

My premium went up 59%.

"Obamacare will lower rates" was a lie. The intent of Obamacare was to provide health insurance to those who don't have it. This means that those who do have health insurance must pay more to pay for those being added.

This goes to the main fault of Obamacare, it doesn't address the root cause of the problem - the reason people couldn't get health insurance is because it was too expensive. All Obamacare did is make it MORE expansive.

BTW, the way that bill was passed was disgraceful and an insult to democracy.

Our health insurance, deductible and drug co-pay all went up. Our family is healthy so it isn't such a big difference for us, aside from the basic coverage. However, some of my colleagues have chronic conditions, including cancer and diabetes, and their out of pocket costs have gone up big time. I liked the idea of the healthcare reform helping a lot of people who didn't have health insurance and couldn't get coverage, though it is still very expensive for them and some of them can't even afford what is being offered.

People can't forget that health care costs have been going up for a decade at this pace, and this is nothing new. Also, many companies lost a lot of revenue and profits the past couple of years, so they're shifting more of the cost of health insurance to employees. Again, this is nothing new. Very little of your health costs are associated with the health care bill which mostly doesn't even go into effect until 2014.

My costs haven't gone up much over the past few years because my company switches health plans yearly to keep costs down. It did go up this year though because they couldn't absorb the costs since business was down and other insurance plans were more expensive than the one they chose..

@texashaze - wouldn't more people cause individual healthcare costs to go down? Usually it is the people who are healthy and have low risk who forgo health insurance. Someone who has a high healthcare cost usually either has insurance, or is doing what they can to get insurance. By increasing the size of the pool, you are lowing the risk per person that the insurance company incurs.

The real reason why health care insurance costs are up is because health care costs are up. The more things modern medicine knows how to treat and cure, the more things that health insurance will be paying for.

We went from paying nothing for our health insurance to paying $1250 a year for an okay policy. Oh well.

My husband's premium increased $50 a month as well.

The rate on my policy doesn't reset until April, which is the anniversary date of my policy. It's usually gone up 10-30% per year over the past several years. I keep raising the deductible to keep the rates at bay.

Wow, sure looks like rates are going up a lot. Living overseas I don't see that yet - although prices at the hospital are going up and with a weaker USD foreign currency prices do seem to be more expensive.

I guess I better get ready for a shock when I come back.


My insurance went up nearly 25 percent in 2009 and again in 2010. With a huge deductible. If something really bad happens, I better just die. My question to Mr. Obama and those who passed this bill: who couldn't have foreseen this? Why wasn't something done to forestall it?

The premium increased 38%, copays doubled, deductible upped 50% and a mixed bag of items dropped. Luckily, like with our home and automobile insurance, we seldom require the coverage but are thankful to have it when we do.

Didn't someone recently argue why inflation didn't exist?

I own a small business. The group health plan I have (which covers me, my children, one employee and her children) went up 60%.

Sixty Freaking Percent!!!!

I'm contemplating letting 2 of my part time employees go to cover the increase in premiums.

I purchase health coverage for myself and my wife privately (I find it cheaper than the employer-sponsored coverage since we're relatively young). It remained unchanged.

I must note that this kind of informal "polling" is relatively useless and completely uninformative.

If you live in California and hate how insurance companies are jacking up their rates, you can do something about it, thanks to the new powers given states by Obama's health reform law.

Currently, the State of California can REVIEW health insurers' proposed rate increases for "reasonableness", as Commissioner Jones is doing right now, but cannot REJECT unreasonable rate increases.

New legislation by Assemblyman Mike Feuer (AB52), and made possible by the Affordable Care Act, would give California's elected Insurance Commissioner power to REJECT unreasonable rate increases.

The health insurance industry will try to kill AB52, but consumers working together with Health Access can defeat the insurance industry and win rate regulation THIS YEAR.

I'm not a fan of the Obama Administration but let's be fair - you can't blame health insurance premium increases on ObamaCare. Health insurance costs have been going up by double digit %'s for at least a decade now.

Nazim --

1. This wasn't meant to be a formal poll, it's meant to be a question like you might ask a friend.

2. If you doubt that premiums are going up more than normal, Google around a bit and you'll see that what readers are experiencing here is not uncommon. In fact, it's the norm.

Brad --

Two thoughts:

1. That's right, health insurance costs have been going up at a good clip for years.

2. I think the issue this year is the higher than normal jumps. So you can attribute part of that to the trend and part (I'd guess) to the new legislation.

For our company, we haven't had an increase (we were always able to shift companies to keep premiums level) in five years. This year we had a big one...

For a blog that's usually based on facts, this post screams of ideological half-truths. The ACA didn't make YOUR insurance premiums go up, but it may have kept them from going up MORE than they did, at least based on evidence. But if you can just hate on this legislation then you aren't really going to think about that now are you?

Also, the bill wasn't intended to make your insurance cheaper, it was intended to give more people access to the system, which will make premiums cheaper IN THE LONG RUN. You understand the LONG RUN, right? That thing you use to give investment advice all the time? Well, it applies here too.

Most of the bill doesn't go into effect until 2014. So what's driving up rates? I have no idea, you'd have to ask your insurance provider. They're now required to tell you why your rates went up, thanks to the ACA.

Please don't post this uneducated drivel on what otherwise is a fantastic blog.

Correlation doesn't equal causation. Keep that in mind when spreading information like this. If you aren't going to do your homework, than perhaps you shouldn't post it.

My cost have not increased at all. I agree with REB. Any increase at this time I don't think can be attributed to Obama care. Its too soon to have an affect. I do think that this will be used as an excuse to gouge more money from us over the next few years. Too bad the public option part didn't pass. That would have stopped the insurance industry from running our health care.

Eric --

I'm asking a question -- based on comments from a previous post. So your issue is????????

I think you're the one with some ideological hang-ups...

Sarah --

More people buying insurance that don't use it would cause health care costs to go down. More people buying insurance that couldn't get it before because they use it too much will cause the healhcare costs to go up.

In this case, right now, more people are insured that were too expensive to cover before, so of course premiums are going up.

This is a direct result of Obamacare. Now Obamacare's answer to this is to force everyone to get insurance. However since this is unconstitutional, it is being challenged, and should eventually be thrown out.

Therefore we are left insuring more exepensive people without adding cheap people, and Obamacare will continue costing us more and more.

What we need is a way to bring costs down. Obamacare did not address that at all.

We're paying 40% more so I lost more than $100 a month.

There's definitely a lot of factors at play here. It really sounds like there's zero communication between health practitioners, pharmacies, insurance companies, and the government. It's hard to solve because any change affects so many parties so documenting and relaying information as to the efficacy of any given change is lost. Then a new change is applied without fully understanding how the first one played out. Miserable.

We changed carriers (to the one we changed away from in '10) and mine went down by 24%, although that's a little misleading since it's for only one person with no dependents. In dollars it's only about $12 per check. According to the HR rep, in October they will have a free health screening at the office. If you meet certain criteria (which I already meet) an additional discount will be available.

Along with the SDI changes, my biweekly net take-home is up by $37. This is the first year I can remember where I had no increase. No idea why - coverage is actually a little better.

From what I had read, the way that the new healthcare bill is supposed to bring down national health care costs is by making it more expensive for the well insured to get medical care. The idea here is that those with good health insurance are abusing the system by getting things like unnecessary MRIs and going to the ER for the flu. If you make those people pay more for health care, they will be less likely to seek medical attention. With less demand, the price will go down, making the same treatments more accessible to people who previously could not afford to go.

That's why there's the incentive now to tax "Cadillac plans" up the wazoo. We're going to tax great insurance plans into oblivion.

The whole thing makes my head spin and, yes, my health insurance rates are slated to go up as well. In the next two years, I will be receiving less benefits for more out of pocket costs because my family counts among those that are over-insured. Nevermind, that my husband chose a less cash lucrative position in exchange for the amazing benefits package offered. Okay, I need to stop now, I'm getting myself worked up.

People need to stop with the knee-jerk reactions here, this is not the fault of "Obamacare". My husband's policy, which we pay for out of pocket, has seen double digit increases every year now, well before Obama was even president. Here is some info about it:

"Premium rates for many in the individual market are going up. But state insurance commissioners and health care experts told us the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is responsible in most cases for only a small portion of these increases. The main cause of double-digit rate hikes is rising medical costs."

Frankly I don't think this discussion will be anything but political opinions. The costs of healthcare and the impact of healtcare reform is too complex to capture in a simple "my rates went up because of X" declaration.

If your rates went up do you think that the cost of healthcare stayed the same from last year to this year? As opposed to the previous couple decades when costs went up 7-8% annually?

My deductible went up. My employer didn't blame reform. They cited higher costs.

jim --

Funny you should mention what your employer said. I didn't initially include what my employer said because I didn't want it to sway opinions one way or the other. But looks like we're past that at this point.

My employer said the insurance companies they got quotes from said that there's uncertainty about what the new health bill will cost/require, so the insurance companies are taking bigger than normal increases and expect to for the next two years or so.

Is this the truth (or are the companies simply looking to pad their pockets)? It's difficult to tell...

Exact same plan as last year and it went down $24/year. And as pointed out, HCR doesn't really start to kick in till after 2014. HCR will work to drive costs down by making things more efficient and offer more alternatives. And it's yet to be decided if it's unconstitutional or not.


Earlier I stated that Obamacare caused my rates to go up. This is based on the facts provided to me by my HR and by my insurance company. In a nutshell, the number of people covered increased while the number of payers stayed the same. This is due to a number of provisions in the bill. All of which is fact and all of which was verified by the parties involved.

I've got many associates who are doctors, work in insurance, HR, etc and they are pretty unanimous that this bill will result in higher premiums for existing insured. You can sugarcoat it all you want but facts are facts. If you were insured your costs will go way up while service will go way down.

If we are lucky the government will rescind this bill or make some serious changes before the damage is worse. It looks like progress is already in the works.

One more thing, this is a very appropriate topic for this blog since it is a huge expense for all households.

I work for a large company (20,000+ employees) and our premium costs went up by 6.2%. Very minimal increase.

Personally, our cost stayed exactly the same as last year. I do think that if you don't make health insurance mandatory, than this bill will cause insurance rates to rise. But that isn't the cause for the current rates. Right now it is the perfect climate for companies to jack up their costs knowing that it will be blamed on something else. Why wouldn't a company raise their rates now, knowing they wont take the blame?

AFP - it is law for hospitals to treat anybody at their emergency rooms. Given that I don't think it's unreasonable to mandate that everybody purchase a minimal insurance plan. What is a "minimal" insurance plan? I don't know and I don't think anybody will know until 2013 or 2014.

FMF, Yeah I think it is difficult to tell. I for one I don't know why people trust what insurance companies tell them. I've gotten so many lies and BS excuses from that industry...

texashaze - I don't think it is correct to say that healthcare is a huge expense for all households. I pay $56/mo for a great plan. I'd wager that most households with cable tv pay more for cable that I do for healthcare. I'd also wager that most companies of 20,000+ employees pay similar amounts. otoh, my wife's company of about 100 charges their employees zero. That's not to say that they could be paid more in salary if they paid for some of their health care costs.

Texashaze said: "This is based on the facts provided to me by my HR and by my insurance company. In a nutshell, the number of people covered increased while the number of payers stayed the same. This is due to a number of provisions in the bill."

What provision? Who was added? How many people were added? What was the increase in costs due to those people?
What was the direct cost of that change?

I don't think adding a handful of 24-26 year old dependents jacked up everyone rates 10%.

Associating the current increases in health insurance coverage with the Affordable Care Act is either partisan in nature or naive because such increases have been happening for a number of years.

A good analysis of these claims and their validity comes from the following link where they identified the ACA as only being a small contributor to any price increases.

That said, the price increases that everyone is feeling are really a part of a broken system that has no built-in mechanisms to slow the growth in costs. Ultimately, the health providers charge more as their costs increase, passing the costs to the insurers who pass the charges on to the policy holders. Then governments attempt to impose controls on the insurers' rate increases rather than working on the sources of the cost increases themselves. These efforts ultimately won't help much.

In some cases, opening up competition among health providers may be an option to slow cost increases if there is enough parties competing, but in general there are too few providers in many regions. Consumers also lack the ability to shop around in quite a number of cases because they lack either the required medical knowledge or the time to do so. All of this contributes to ongoing cost increases meaning pinning the blame on the new health bill is underestimating the nature of the problem.

The problem with opening up competition is that healthcare costs don't follow a free-market model. If I need to go to the ER I'm going to the one thats closest to me, not the one thats $50 or $500 cheaper.

My plan went up 25%. My company was relatively honest with me, I believe. Roughly half the increase was an actual increase in the cost of the plan, and the other half was the company reducing their contribution to the plan.

That was spelled out in the auxiliary paperwork, but it wasn't immediately clear on the benefit sign up webpage. So if I just looked at that and compared last year's rate to this year's, all I would see is a huge increase.

As has been stated before, the biggest provisions of Obamacare, such as the mandate, aren't in effect yet, and the pressure of state-controlled individual pools should result in a baseline price for all insurance plans being established. Establishing a baseline of requirements for health insurance plans protects consumers by eliminating plans with hidden exclusions and allows for an easier head-to-head comparison of different options. I don't think that we'll be able to judge the effect of Obamacare on health insurance prices until several years after full implementation.

And I will say, that with all of that in mind, I don't mind paying a little more, either directly in insurance premiums or in taxes, to cover more people in the country. I will pay for things that don't directly benefit me in order to raise the standard of living for everyone. That's the whole purpose of a government. And I believe that the ACA law, while imperfect, is a step in the right direction.

@Wellescent Healthcare Forums - you said "Associating the current increases in health insurance coverage with the Affordable Care Act is either partisan in nature or naive because such increases have been happening for a number of years." Are the individuals in my HR who are experts in the subject as well as the insurance company all partisans because they've stated Obamacare is the major contributing factor to this year's increases? Blaming opposition to this on partisanship is an easy out. I try to be fair minded yet in my case all the answers point to the provisions in the bill as primary reasons for the increases. All these people can't be lying.

@jc climber - This year I will spend $8000 on medical premiums and HSA alone. I've budgeted $10k after we spend all the HSA. That's a lot of money for my houehold. Some self employed/semi-retired people I know are paying $15-20k per year. Can you imagine that burden??

@Jim - My company employs ~300,000+ globally. They contributed more this year than last and our premiums still went up 59%. In addition other benefits such as profit sharing, etc were reduced or eliminated to help make up for the difference.

Texashaze, What provision of healthcare reform caused your rates to go up? YOu said they had to add a lot of people? Who? I'm sorry what you're sayin gjust doesn't add up veyr well.

I have no doubt that some employers or insurance companies blame reform for the increased rates. Its easier for them to just blame the govt. Before blaming the government they would blame everyone else. Its never the insurance company's fault is it?

My employer doesn't offer a group health plan (I work for a very small nonprofit org) so I have to buy my own plan. I have a high-deductible HSA with major medical coverage. My rate went up about 20% in 2010 and another 20% this year.

I received a letter from my insurance company in November which explained that the rates were going up as a result of the president's "Health Care Affordability Act" which seems kinda ironic that they call it that, when it means higher premiums for many.

I think one key reason of higher premiums this year is because children up to age 26 can now be covered on their parent's insurance coverage. This is one provision of the healthcare plan that has already taken effect.

Our rates went up 29% as a company and a similar percentage was passed on to the employees.

I have been in the healthcare field for 22 years, on the business/finance side. Costs are going up for many reasons, but here are some of the primary drivers. Medical costs for a 60 year old are three times the rate of a 25 year old. The average 60+ aged person under medical care is on 6 different medications. With the aging population, you can the dynamics involved. The boomers are hitting that age and we have a growing elderly population. Next, we have a growing diabetes problem hitting a epic proportion. We now have over 26 million people with diabetes, which is up over 2 million since 2008. Diabetics have a whole host of problems. The rise is due to our growing obesity problem. Next, we have various issues with healthcare delivery, such as expensive ER visits for non-emergency visits and defensive medicine practices. We also have technology to blame. We have the ability to extend life even in situations where a patient will never recover. In those cases, up to 90% of those healthcare costs over a lifetime actually occurred in the last 3 to 6 months.

As for Obamacare, there has probably been a bit of cost impact by those planning for implementation (preparing for requirements). But the impact has not yet hit. Will it increase costs? Yes, it most certainly will. I can give a few examples, but that is probably a separate topic.

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