News & Updates

Nickels and Dimes

Jul 10, 2015 Tags: FDA, Medicare, Pharmaceuticals, Seniors

As if health insurance wasn’t already expensive enough, health insurance companies are seeking to raise the cost 20 to 40 percent. According to the insurance companies, the newly covered patients under the Affordable Care Act are sicker than they had realized. Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans are the biggest offenders. In Oklahoma they are seeking a 36% increase in Tennessee and a 54% increase in Minnesota. This is a completely unreasonable increase potentially affecting millions of Americans throughout the country. Laura Cali, the Oregon insurance commissioner, already approved a 25 to 33% 2016 increase for plans that cover a quarter million people.
 
President Obama and other Federal officials are encouraging consumers to reach out to their state insurance regulators with the hope that their state won’t follow in the footsteps of Oregon. With more than 1/6th of the US economy being devoted to the cost of health care, these cost increases would not only represent a huge amount of money for tens of millions of insurees, they would also have a significant impact on the economy at large.
 
One can definitely argue that insurance markets are simply adjusting to the “shock waves set off by the Affordable Care Act,” but much of the expenditure is due to waste and abuse. According to the Institute of Medicine, up to 800 billion a year is lost due to these inefficiencies. Just a few weeks ago, in June of 2015, 243 people were charged with Medicare abuse to the sum of $712 million dollars. Unfortunately this is not an isolated case. Instead of pushing these unnecessary costs onto the citizens, it might make more sense to work on resolving these bigger issues. Raising the costs of a damaged system is like building a façade to hide the weak foundation beneath.