Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Health Insurers continue to raise Deductibles to Ridiculous Heights, with or without the Affordable Care Act!

Having nothing to do with ObamaCare: health insurance for business is going through the roof in the form of employee deductibles.

It's also true the Affordable Care Act has high deductibles, which ironically, are now being criticized by Republicans who loved them (skin in the game) when they were included with Health Savings Accounts. High deductibles are bad news, no doubt about it. 

And when someone complains about the rising cost of health care, or ObamaCare premiums, remember how bad it was...and still is for employer provided insurance. Premiums held steady, but deductibles went way up. And marketplace insurers are now finding other ways to game the system. It's what the private sector does.  

When I had a Health Savings Account, my insurer raised the deductible over $10,000 in mid-contract, so reading about the complaints below is small potatoes. Still, this is the game insurers play to make money. Remember, the story below isn't about the Affordable Care Act, it's about business health insurance. And many large companies self insure:
USA Today: A report out today puts numbers behind what hit many workers when they signed up for health insurance during open enrollment last year: deductible shock. Premiums for employer-paid insurance are up 3% this year, but deductibles are up nearly 50% since 2009, the report by the Kaiser Family Foundation shows.

The average deductible this year is $1,217, up from $826 five years ago, Nearly 20% of workers overall have to pay at least $2,000 before their insurance kicks in, while workers at firms with 199 or fewer employees are … third of these employees at small companies pay at least $2,000 deductibles.

"Skin-in-the-game insurance" is becoming the norm, says Kaiser Family Foundation CEO Drew Altman, referring to the higher percentage of health care costs employees have to share.
“Skin in the game” is the norm. After all, being sick, worried about your health or surviving a major health event isn't enough for conservatives, you or your family will also have to go bankrupt. Here's an example:
Deductibles will keep going up as companies try to keep their own health care costs down by raising the amount of cost-sharing workers have to bear.

At Noblehurst Farms, a dairy farm in Linwood, N.Y., the premiums went up, but deductibles held steady this year because the 40-member plan was already a high-deductible one started four years ago. Though some employees were skeptical at first, they've come to accept the plans and appreciate the $1,000 the company contributes to their health savings accounts to help offset the deductibles. 

"As an employer, you see employees take a big hit when they have any kind of medical expense," says Noble-Moag, whose grandfather formed the farm's corporation in the 1960s. "It can bankrupt a person."

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