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Merry Christmas from Blue Shield Bloodsucking Insurance

twig's picture

Exactly a week before Christmas, Mr Twig gets a letter from Blue Shield announcing a rate hike due to his upcoming birthday. The premium is going up by 50% (!!!!), so his premium will be pretty close to $1,000 a month. I know there are people who pay more, but this is for bare bones, catastrophic insurance with the highest deductible available, covering a person in excellent health who doesn't even use the insurance because he rarely goes to the doctor because who can afford to anymore? 

Moral of the story: No more birthdays for him. Also too, the Affordable Care Act sucks big time. 


stuartbramhall's picture
Submitted by stuartbramhall on

1. Insurance companies have inserted themselves as a broker in the doctor-patient relationship and transformed health care into a profit-making commodity. The result? The cost of health care in the US is about double that of other industrialized countries, in which government assumes full responsibility for funding medial care. Obama took single payer off the table at the very beginning of the health care debate. 

2. Then he killed the "public option," in which patients would have the choice of buying private insurance or a low cost government plan similar to Medicare (low cost due to no profit, no exorbitant CEO salaries, no advertising costs, etc).. Keeping the public option would have prevented the insurance companies from jacking up their premiums, exactly as they're doing right now. Obama also refused to place a lid on premium increases, which insurance companies justify based on the ACA requirement that they treat pre-existing conditions. Previously insurance companies mostly signed up health people like twig. Now that they have to cover sick people, too, they're all increasing their premiums. 

3. The ACA increases prescription costs by prohibiting government programs from negotiating with drug companies for bulk/volume discounts (as all other industrialized countries do).

4. The ACA allows insurance companies to continue to force private practice doctors into bankruptcy by pressuring them to agree to deep fee discounts. (I'm one of the doctors they forced into bankruptcy).

5. Owing to the failure of the ACA to eliminate insurance companies from health care delivery - or to limit premium increases - 20 million Americans will remain uninsured, even after the ACA is fully implemented. 

twig's picture
Submitted by twig on

As I understand it, there's nothing in the ACA to cap or control premium increases. So the insurance companies can -- and do -- charge whatever they want.

So the reference wasn't really personal, sorry if that was misleading. Everyone's going to deal with these premium increases at some point, I imagine.

quixote's picture
Submitted by quixote on

If I've understood correctly (and I try not to hear any more about this garbage than I have to, so I may not have), the rates at which insurance companies can increase premiums will be regulated after 2014, based on what the rates are when it takes effect.

When the law was passed in 2010, the Conventional Wisdom was that of course nobody would raise their premiums much in the interim because the insurance cos. were so glad to have new customers and a brave new world.

In actual fact, we're seeing Mr. Twig's experience times millions across the country. twig is exactly right to thank ACA for the increase. And to think that we've barely begun to feel all the goodies the ACA will bring us.

twig's picture
Submitted by twig on

great way to run a health care system.

California has an insurance commissioner who supposedly oversees things like this. But I have a feeling that what Blue Shield is doing is fine with them.

The only hope is that state legislators will pass yet another bill to establish single payer within the state. They've done it twice already, but Schwarzenegger vetoed both. Now we've got Ds controlling the legislature and a D governor, so maybe one of these days ....

twig's picture
Submitted by twig on

to regulate premiums here (CA), although apparently in some states it's different. (Btw, the title of the press release in the link is "Commonwealth Fund Study Shows CA Health Insurers Increased Profits In Individual Market Despite New Medical Loss Ratio Requirements." Nice to know the system is working so well for them!)

...policyholders still lack adequate consumer protection from steep rate hikes, because I do not have the authority to reject excessive rate increases."

Commissioner Jones has tried to pass legislation to authorize the Insurance Commissioner to reject excessive health insurance rate hikes for the past six years. He authored such legislation when he served in the State Assembly and as Commissioner has sponsored such legislation. Though the State Assembly has passed the legislation repeatedly, it has died in the State Senate each year as a result of health insurer and HMO lobbying. A ballot initiative has qualified for the 2014 ballot to give the Insurance Commissioner the authority to prevent excessive health insurance and HMO premiums.[emphasis added]