When I went home for lunch today, I had the good fortune of receiving a letter from Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) of Michigan. The letter indicated they are raising my premium rates by 28.45% effective Oct. 1. Thus, my rates will rise from $428.82 to $550.63
When I went home for lunch today, I had the good fortune of receiving a letter from Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) of Michigan. The letter indicated they are raising my premium rates by 28.45% effective Oct. 1. Thus, my rates will rise from $428.82 to $550.63. By the way, this "plan" includes a $3,000 deductible.
We have paid BCBS premiums for at least 9 months, totaling over $3,852. During those 9 months, we have been restricted from using the maternity coverage that we bought, have not received one cent from BCBS in benefits coverage, and have had to fight on more than one occasion to have clearly covered benefits counted towards our deductible.
Now, in this letter, they blame a lack of health insurance regulation in Michigan and complain that other for-profit companies are allowed to deny coverage to high risk candidates. They blame the Michigan State Legislature and state law for these problems.
They do not, of course, blame themselves or their service providers.
They do not, of course, state the clear need for a public option.
So I called BCBS. I confirmed our rate increase and asked how it is that a such a large increase is dumped in the lap of the individual (not group) subscribers. I was told that group rates were also going up, but was not able to be told by how much. I was told that the economy is to blame--as more and more people lose jobs, they are "forced" into the individual plans and BCBS is "forced" by state law to cover the "unhealthiest" people in the state. (The quotation marks enclose direct quotes from this conversation.)
Finally, I was told that the service providers have increased their costs. So I asked why, instead of passing this increase on to the individual subscribers, BCBS did not negotiate with the service providers for lower fees. I was told by the rep that she didn't know why they didn't do this.
I then asked her how many subscribers they projected losing, since, like me, many likely wouldn't be able to afford this increase. The rep told me they expected to lose some, but not too many.
I finally asked why BCBS was not behind the public option, since it would seem to address the issues that were conveyed to me. The rep told me she didn't know why.
After learning that I would not be able to speak directly to a supervisor at that time, I ended the conversation.
The health insurance system is broken. We need a fix. Please, support the public option to bring about reform, true competition, and real coverage that is affordable.
[Cross-posted at my Posterous blog.]