It’s the letter more Americans are dreading this fall: How much will your health insurance premiums go up for next year? The frightening renewal notice. Most consumers will get the bad news on or around Nov. 1. After more than a year of political maneuvering, posturing, name-calling, finger-pointing, misleading, and general ill-will, I think the rubber will hit the road this Nov. 1 when sticker shock sets in. We’ve all heard the dire predictions: 10…20….30 percent increases. CareFirst in Maryland asked for a 50 percent increase.
So I guess I should feel lucky. I just learned my premiums will go up 22 percent next year, to $524 per month. And, to be expected, my modest silver plan was degraded, too. My in-network deductible went up fully 75%.
I posted a note about this on my Facebook page late Friday night (when the notice came) and was greeted by an avalanche of comments/complaints.,
“Haven’t received it yet. But here in Pennsylvania we are told increases will be 30.2% making my $1000 a month premium up to $1300. That is just for me as an individual,” said Evelyn Clarke Inoue.
Some notes are heartbreaking.
“I’m terrified,” wrote Katherine D’Orazio. “I have 3 kids whose healthcare is provided through the CHIP program. And the rural county I live in has had all but one insurer pull out this year so I will have no choice on plans. … We can’t buy a house with all this limbo because if we’re suddenly on the hook for $800/month premiums a mortgage will be too much.”
I’d expect to hear 1,000 comments like this in your life very soon. In fact, I hope you do. I think the only way out of this situation is for people to really share just how absurd their personal situations have become. It’s the only way for America, collectively, to really feel the enormity of the size of the problem, a bit like how #MeToo revealed just how widespread sexual harassment is. Let’s put this in each other’s faces. I know these things can sometimes feel very personal, but this is not a time to be bashful. It’s time to be bold.
Naturally, the anger and sticker shock will lead to blaming and shaming. I’d hope we all realize that strategy hasn’t really gotten us anywhere. Not this year, not for the past decade. Call it whatever you want – TrumpCare, ObamaCare, Single-Payer, Free Market. All these terms are pretty much meaningless in the incredibly complex problem we now all live in. People throwing these words around are just trying to manipulate you; and if you believe them, you’re a sucker. Adults have to get together and make serious steps to bring costs down while maintaining the humanity of our country.
So, I ask: How Much Did Your Premium Go Up? Please post your story below. Or, if you prefer, you can join the robust Facebook discussion I have going on over there.