Change we can believe in!
See also: Obama exempt from Obamacare (Washington Times)
Americans buying their own health insurance face an average 20 percent increase in premiums, driving some toward cheaper plans with fewer benefits, according to the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.
An estimated 14 million U.S. individuals under age 65 purchase coverage themselves, rather than through an employer, according to a Kaiser report released today. About 77 percent of them got a premium increase, said the Menlo Park, California- based nonprofit, which surveyed 1,038 buyers of their own individual and family health insurance between March 19 and April 2.
What’s driving up costs and how much is a fair rate increase are issues of debate among regulators and insurers, said Drew Altman, Kaiser’s chief executive officer and president. “If you’re being hit with a 20 percent increase and inflation is negligible and your wages aren’t going up, that on its face is an unreasonable increase,” Altman said. “You will never convince a consumer that’s a reasonable increase when wages and inflation are flat.”
About 60 percent of policyholders paid the higher bills, while 16 percent switched to a less expensive plan, according to Kaiser. Of those who changed coverage, nearly half said their new policy offered fewer benefits.
“Health insurance premiums are rising because medical costs continue to soar and because younger and healthier people are choosing to drop their insurance during a weak economy,” said Robert Zirkelbach, a spokesman for America’s Health Insurance Plans, an industry group based in Washington. “That’s driving up costs for everyone else.”