Health Premiums Up; No Surprise
It was reported today that the annual increase in health insurance has risen by an average of 5%, and that’s supposed to be a good thing since we’ve pretty much gotten used to yearly increases in double digits. This means that the average cost for family coverage is now over $13,000 a year. It’s a good thing that employers foot a big part of that bill.
Want to talk about that health care plan again that the government is working on? You might, as only 60% of employers are paying for health care for their workers, down from 66% in 1999, and around 40% of employers still carrying insurance are going to be passing more of those costs on to their employees.
It’s strange to hear this from me, but actually, a 5% increase isn’t such a bad deal. Think about it this way. If you actually had to go into the hospital as an inpatient, you’ve actually made out for the year as far as your health insurance is concerned. The people who actually lose the biggest on health care each year are those who go for minimal services and have a deductible to pay. This means they’re not only paying for health coverage, but for some early treatments as well, without it ever turning the corner.
I hate deductible plans, but that’s how some health care costs are kept down. It’s even less expensive than those plans where you pay a $15 or $20 co-pay, and they’re usually a lot more flexible as to which doctors you’re able to see.
The biggest cost once again is pharmaceuticals, and there’s not really much that can be done about that. The population is getting older, and it just seems it’s what we need to take. Of course, someone like me doesn’t help, as I’m diabetic, and all my supplies and medications are covered in full. I’m a type 2 diabetic, but also overweight; yeah, I’ll own up to that. So, I really get the benefit from our health insurance, as does my wife for maladies I’m not going to divulge.
One more thing. For someone who’s not necessarily on the side of insurance companies all that much, having a modest increase of 5% in a recession where companies are paying a lot less because of high unemployment is an even better deal than anyone could expect. Of course, this doesn’t mean you won’t walk into work one day in November and get hit with a 15% increase. The figure above is an average, and some areas are going to charge more for the privilege of health care coverage.
Still, it looks like the insurance companies are at least trying; I’ll give them a break for now.