Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Good News, Bad News

[Welcome Kaiser Network readers!]

After trudging through deserts, swamps and steamy jungles for days, the troops were called to order and addressed by the Commander.

"We have good news, and we have bad news. First, the good news. Everyone get's a change of underwear."

Cheers go up from the crowd.

"Now, the bad news. Joe, you change with Sam. Sam, you change with Bill, Bill . ."

USA Today is reporting that the health insurance industry is offering " to curb its controversial practice of charging higher premiums to people with a history of medical problems."

That's the good news.

Now the bad news.

EVERYONE pays a higher premium. Based on what we see in states that prohibit medical underwriting, expect rates to be 200% - 300% higher.

two insurance industry groups said their members are willing to "phase out the practice of varying premiums based on health status in the individual market" if all Americans are required to get coverage.
So now everyone will be required to have coverage, much like the way auto insurance is handled in most states. Of course there is a difference with auto. High risk individuals can only get coverage through SR-22 programs.

Does this mean a similar plan will evolve for health insurance?

And if 48,000,000 can't afford health insurance now (most are insurable), how will they afford it when it is mandated?

The companies left themselves several outs, however. The letter said they would still charge different premiums based on such factors as age, place of residence, family size and benefits package.
This is an "out?"

Seems to me auto insurance carriers charge different rates based on the type of car you drive, where you live, your driving record . . .

Are these considered "outs" as well?

Small employers who offer coverage can see their premiums zoom up from one year to the next, even if just one worker or family member gets seriously ill.
Zoom, but subject to state limits.

Is Karen Ignani that misinformed about the industry?

Apparently so.

Maybe she should run for Congress. Seems like a good fit.
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