I got a call yesterday, in the middle of a really crazy day. As you’ll read in my book, my friends all know not to call me on my deadline days, so I’m always surprised when my phone rings on a Monday or a Tuesday. Well, this was a pleasant surprise. It was a nurse from Kaiser, my HMO, summoning me in to see my doctor. I’ve been so crazed on the book, I haven’t had a physical or routine tests for a bit too long.
Yes, my doctor called me to get me to come in. Kaiser Permanente. Had it since my early 20s, they don’t kick you out once you’re in, reasonable rates that stay standard if you get in and pay in when you’re healthy, like I did.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like my rates will be reasonable for long. Here’s a New York Post piece by Sally Pipes on the cost of health care “reform”:
Congress seems hell-bent on making life harder for ordinary New Yorkers. Several recent reports confirm this. A recent analysis done by PriceWaterhouseCoopers, the large insurer Wellpoint and consulting firm Oliver Wyman (using WellPoint’s membership data) showed that an average New York family with two children covered by a basic individual-market policy would see its premiums rise 82 percent under Sen. Harry Reid’s version of the bill, which includes new excise taxes on insurers, drug companies and medical-device firms, which would all be passed on to consumers.
(It’d be even worse in other states: A 25-year-old man in Kentucky, for instance, would see his monthly premium rise from $61 to $181 — nearly a threefold jump.)
New York’s small businesses would fare somewhat better. Premiums for a New York City-based firm with eight employees would rise 6 percent if the reform plan takes root.
A big part of that 6 percent hike would come from the Senate’s plan to tax so-called “Cadillac” high-cost insurance plans. Because insurance in New York is already so expensive, the tax would hit many workers’ policies. By 2014, New Yorkers would be forking over $33 million to the federal government in “Cadillac” taxes alone.
Democrats claim that government subsidies would help families adjust to the higher cost of insurance. But those subsidies won’t offset many people’s hikes. For example, premiums for a two-child family with annual income of $66,150 would still go up 24 percent under the Senate’s plan — after the subsidy is taken into account. That’s an extra $80 a month.
It’s easy to understand how “reform” will raise health costs — by imposing onerous new regulations on insurance. For instance, reforms passed by the House and under consideration in the Senate would mandate that all policies cover such benefits as pediatric dental services and maternity coverage — even if you don’t want such coverage. The reform package’s new minimum-benefit requirements alone would add $245 a month to the average New York family’s premium.
I will never have a baby, not unless somebody drops one off on my porch. I do have to pay for maternity coverage through Kaiser, which is utterly ridiculous. (I should be able to opt out — to not have that covered.) To have more people have more ridiculous coverage is, well, ridiculous — and idiotic.