The two questions in today's topic are something everyone insuring their own health needs to take a very hard look. What does the future hold?!?
Health insurance companies must file requested premium rates for the coming year with the Federal government. Blue Cross of Texas has requested nearly a 60 percent rate increase on multiple HMO plan offerings for 2017.
A recent 2016 client proposal for a family of 3 in rural Texas with Blue Cross will cost $960.00 per month. A 60 percent rate increase will raise those rates by $576.00 a month in 2017.
Using the example of a 3 person household where one adult lost a job and obtained a health insurance tax credit or subsidy from the federal government their premium could be reduced up to 70 percent.
The tax credit shields those who are receiving it from the reality of the true cost of health insurance.
When that person seeks employment and finds a new job their income will go up. Perhaps the income will go up enough that when they report their income change they lose their subsidy. Can they afford paying $1476.00 a month for health insurance that offers a potential out of pocket of $6850.00 annually? Will they pay it or go uninsured?
In a statement, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas said its request is based on strong financial principles, science and data. "It's also important to understand the magnitude of the losses ... experienced in the individual retail market over the past two years," the statement said. The company says it lost $592 million last year and $416 million in 2014.
In some rural counties in Texas Blue Cross Blue Shield is the only option.
Hospitals across the country are now suing the poorest of people for non-payment. These are new problems for the Affordable Care Act.
In a statement, the Health and Human Services Department said the Texas rate request is just the beginning of a process. Consumers in Texas and other states will have lower-premium options when sign-up season begins Nov. 1. If they don't like what their current insurer is charging for 2017, they can switch.
"Consumers will have the final word when they vote with their feet during open enrollment," said the statement.
You can read more here.