As a business owner, I pay my own health insurance, and had a few thoughts on a recent letter I received from my provider, which happens to be Medical Mutual of Ohio.
First, the letter was ostensibly about renewing my coverage plan for this year, which seemed a bit strange to me, since I just assumed my coverage was on a month to month basis; no yearly dues so to speak. The letter started with a nice big bold:
You may be able to reduce your monthly premium through selecting an alternate benefit program with a higher deductible
Cool, I thought. I’m a relatively healthy person, and could use a reduction in my monthly bill; it might be something I’d be interested in, since, currently, I was paying a relatively low deductible ($500). So, I read on.
The first thing I noted was that the letter was apparently written by the Chief Marketing Officer, Errol Brick. I thought to myself, “Now, why would a marketing person be writing to me about a change in my medical plan? I mean, shouldn’t someone in a billing or programs department be doing that?” OK, whatever, I read on.
The next two pages of the letter showed a graph of the available plans. They’d changed the deductibles on some plans, raised the co-pay amounts on all plans, and were offering some newer plans called HSAs (which stand for Health Savings Accounts). It took me about thirty minutes to decipher what all their terminology meant.
Then, I got to the last page, which had a breakdown of my current plan, and the changes for my next year’s renewal rates. In big bold letters, it stated “Overall Increase: 14.00%“.
Well, now I understood why the start of the letter so delicately stated that I could save some money by going to a higher deductible. No wonder. They’d raised my rate by 14 percent in one year.
Couple things about this:
First, I don’t blame Medical Mutual for typing up the letter in this way; after all, they’re trying to ease the pain of seeing the increase in dollars. And I commend them for making it very clear on the last page that there is a rate increase of exactly 14 percent.
But, this is just the continuing pattern I see from every insurance provider I deal with — home, auto, life, medical, etc. Constant double digit increases year after year. When is this going to stop? Where is all this money going? I see nothing but a decline in service and in policy coverage every year, and I’m asked to pay more for it? Why do insurance companies seem to not suffer the same types of supply and demand forces that every other industry in the US does?
What I mean by that is it seems to me that all the insurance companies just magically seem to raise their rates by almost the exact same amount each year, always ranting some BS about malpractice and legal costs mounting (which, BTW, has never been shown to be factually accurate. It seems to me that the insurance industry is just a racket, supported by politicians at every level to maintain the current status quo of raising rates in lock-step with each other.
I for one, am sick and tired of it. Sick of paying these ridiculous rates. Sick of getting poor service. Sick of hearing about the woes of the insurance industry and how they “just can’t avoid raising costs”. Frankly, I can’t imagine what older people, or people with real medical conditions are paying for insurance. I really feel for them.
I would welcome an insurance company that is innovative and able to cut its costs through a real investment in technology. I’d vote in a heartbeat for any politician that has the guts to stand up to these giants and start fighting back.