Picking up Nickels

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Another Painful HMO Premium Increase

Being self-employed, I have the fortune (or misfortune) of knowing exactly what it costs for my family to have a basic HMO health plan. I can verify that the double digit increases in premiums reported by the media are all too real (Healthcare premiums to leap again).

I opened the 2006-2007 renewal notice for my health plan a couple of weeks ago, and was greeted with a 12% price increase. For the second time since 2001, I have decided to downgrade my HMO plan by agreeing to pay larger co pays and deductibles. For the privilege of doing so, I was generously offered a 2% price increase increase.

Since 2001, my health care premiums have increased 51% (including two plan downgrades). This HMO Premium History graph shows the grim details:

It appears that skyrocketing healthcare costs will eventually push me into the waiting arms of a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) with Health Savings Account (HSA). I have been resisting the change, but I think that sometime soon this will be the only affordable health care option for many Americans. If I am faced with another double digit increase in premiums one year from now, I will seriously consider replacing my HMO with an HDHP/HSA.


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