Health insurance: A scary hike

Talk to anyone who is unemployed and you'll soon learn that one of the biggest worries is health insurance. No doubt activists who work with the unemployed will rally some of them to attend a protest this morning at 11:30 a.m. at Independence Blue Cross headquarters in Philadelphia at 19th and Market Streets. The insurer has asked the Pennsylvania Insurance Department for permission to raise its non-group health insurance rates, effective July 1. 

Check out what could happen to a parents in their 40s with children. A family now paying $1,254.30 a month would see a premium hike to $1,752, an increase of $497.70 per month, or 40 percent. Parents in their 30s with children have an even bigger hike, up 52.8 percent. Many of the hikes are in the 25 percent range.

No doubt Independence Blue Cross has an explanation for this, and later on today, I'll give them a call to find out. In advance, I will say that it definitely costs more to insure an individual on his own than it does to insure a person in a group, because groups have administrators who understand the paperwork. Individuals make a lot more use of customer service, increasing overhead costs.   




"The real horror here is that these mammoth rate increases will fall on non-group subscribers, people who buy health insurance individually," said Lance Haver, director of consumer affairs for the city of Philadelphia. 
"Many of these people will have lost their group coverage because they have lost their jobs, or because their employers have had to cut insurance to stay in business," Haver said. "These are some of the most vulnerable people – they make too much to get subsidized health care, but don’t make enough to be able to pay for a 50 percent increase."
You can click here to look at the filings. QCC is also an Independence Blue Cross company, so you can check out that filing as well. Most of it is pretty confusing, but here and there are some scattered pages that summarize the changes.