I am Annoyed Consumer. The people at Blue Cross — normally I would say fine people, but not in this case — have raised my rates. Now, I’m aware that there’s this thing called “inflation” and this other thing called “progress” and that, sometimes, these conspire to make health insurance premiums go up. But somehow I don’t think that a 20% increase is representative of the core health care inflation rate.
In fact, apparently, in 2006, “healthcare rates for businesses increased by 7.7%”:http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/15014332/. Why is the rate increase for me nearly three times the rate increase for businesses? It doesn’t make sense — in fact, I’d think it should be the opposite. For plans provided to businesses, insurance companies must accept some members who aren’t in good health, just because of who they work for. In contrast, when choosing individual plan members, the insurance companies have shown a preference to “cherry”:http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-insure28nov28,0,2548282,full.story?coll=la-home-headlines-”pick”:http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-reject8jan08,0,6430685,full.story?coll=la-home-headlines. While I’m in no way in favor of this practice — in fact, I think it’s best for everyone if insurers cover the largest risk pools possible — logically, it should result in the ultra-exclusive inidividual insurance being the cheapest of all.
And it’s not as if I’ve moved into some big new risk pool. I’m closer to 32, sure, but I don’t know that 31 1/2 is some famous dividing line between “young and resilient” and “old and fragile.” I haven’t gotten sick, haven’t gotten any medical treatments lately, all I did in the last six months was get a checkup and an immunization booster. That’s not cost-increase-worthy.
Anyway, I’m not a big fan of my 20% boost. In fact, I really don’t want to pay it. And I don’t think that it’s reasonable that I should accept worse coverage. My ideal outcome is that I’d pay 7-10% more this year than I did last, which seems to be in line with overall health cost inflation, and is a fair rate increase.
So, who can I complain to about this to fight my increase? Insurance commissioner? City councilperson? Congressman? ‘Cause I’m ready to fight.