Thursday, November 17, 2011

More on insurance rates

Today's paper tells me that Massachusetts no longer has the highest health insurance rates in the country. In fact it is now down to number 9 on the list. In 2009, the average health care cost for a family was $14,723 and in 2010 it was $14,606. So it actually decreased a tiny bit. Here's how the numbers stack up


   2009     2010
1. MA $14,723                1. DC $15,206
2. WI $14,656 2. NH $15,204
3. VT $14,558 3. FL $15,302
4. WY $14,319 4. CT $14,888
5. DC $14,222 5. RI $14,812
6. AK $14,182 6. NY $14,730
7. CT $14,064 7. IL $14,703
8. LA $13,846 8. DE $14,671
9. MD $13,833 9. MA $14,606
10.NH $13822 10. ME $14,576

I actually find the numbers appallingly high. That's a lot of money no matter how you stack it. $15,000/year is $1250/month - a significant amount. Yes employers usually kick in a fair amount of it, but that percentage has been decreasing for many years. I know people now who's employers only kick in 50% leaving the other half to the employee. And we know co-pays are going up. Even for Medicare. There is another article in the paper that says Medicare is increasing the co-pays for some brand name drugs by up to 40%.

Also, the rate of increases are substantial. In 2003, the average family premium in MA was around $9300. "Even if Massachusetts is improving, “health care premiums are still growing at a faster rate than our economy, and they’re growing at a faster rate than our wages, and that’s a problem,’’ said Sarah Iselin, president of the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation." 

The question is are these results indicative of the success of the MA state health care program or just a 'blip' in the radar? I hope they are showing success. I would like to note that while some states on this list increased around $1000 from 2009 to 2010, MA didn't increase at all.

Who is getting all this money anyway? They blame costly tests and expensive medical equipment so where does the money go? Are the costs high because the machines are made out of some expensive metal which means the mine owner in some corner of the globe is getting rich? But its still just too much money. We need to figure out more ways to reduce these costs.



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