Picking up Nickels

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

My annual HMO premium increase smackdown is here

I haven't covered my ever increasing health insurance costs in a couple of years, but it's been on my mind lately since I just downgraded my HMO plan for the third time since 2001 to lock in a 6% increase in premiums instead of the 12% I was facing by keeping my coverage at the same levels.

In exchange for the lower premiums, I'm basically looking at higher co-pays when we require medical attention (office visit $20->$25, ER $75->$100, CT/MRI/PET scans $50->$75). That doesn't seem like a huge sacrifice though, since this option will save us several hundred dollars over the next 12 months as long as we continue to stay relatively healthy.

Now for the numbers. Since 2001, my health care premiums have increased 89% (including three plan downgrades). This HMO Premium History graph shows the grim details:

It goes without saying that I have been concerned about the large annual increases in our health care costs for several years now, but the situation is really starting to become worrisome as our monthly health care premiums will be nearly equal to our monthly mortgage payment. I've looked into alternatives (High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) with Health Savings Account (HSA) anyone?), but have been unimpressed with what is out there today. Even worse, the proposed health care "reform" proposed by the Obama and McCain campaigns appear to be nothing more than a band-aid approach that do little to address the underlying issue.

At this point, I'm just going to hang in there for another year and hope that I have more options available to me next year. Time will tell...


  • Thank You

    Difficult to find it charted.

    Health Care Companys should be REQUIRED by law to do the same.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10/9/09, 8:58 AM  

  • Thanks for stopping by.

    It's not easy to find that kind of information, is it?

    I don't think that most people with employer-provided health insurance have any clue about how much it really costs and how those costs are increasing at such an alarming rate every year. Perhaps there would be more support for real health care reform if they did.

    By Blogger Frugal Frugalson, at 10/9/09, 9:17 AM  

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