Health Insurance: When Is Enough Enough? by Marie-Laure Grimaldi-Marvel

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Editors note: there are lots of stories out there about how insurance rates are rising much more quickly for small businesses than for larger's one. There are many possible reasons for this. A small group of employees has little cushion if one or two members have a year of high medical costs... or if a few members age into a higher risk group...but the effects are still very hard to handle. Jon Hurst has more on this issue here.

My husband and I buy our health insurance through my husband's office.
We pay in full, his company doesn't participate at all. His company offers only Blue Cross Blue Shield plans. The only "benefit" we get is that it is a pre-tax expense.

Until July 2008 we had a plan called HMO Blue Value Plus with a monthly premium of $811.61. When faced with a renewal rate of $1117.01 we downgraded to HMO Blue $1000 in order to keep our monthly premium at $812.49. Of course the benefits changed and we had a $1000 deductible each.

Now the renewal rate for HMO Blue/$1000 is $1257.94, a 31.57% increase. We could hardly afford $812.49. We certainly cannot afford $1117.01. So once more we can downgrade to a plan called HMO Blue/$2000 with, as the name indicates, a $2000 deductible, and also the higher monthly premium of $931.71.

I want to mention that HMO Blue Value Plus,the plan we had until July 2008,has now a monthly premium of $1492.98 which represents a 83.95% increase. I find this fact to be not just astonishing but outrageous; but I don't see much outrage among our elected officials. Am I the only one doing the math?

Are other people's salaries going up to cover these increases? I don't see that as being the case in Massachusetts.

Now I have to say my piece about Massachusetts and denounce the Scam pushed on us by Mitt Romney and the health insurance industry with the blessing of the state house. When I heard of the plan I smelled the sulfur and I wonder if our state reps and senators were in cahoots with the health insurance companies or not smart enough to see the reality of such a pact.

I cringe every time I hear politicians and the media equate what we was imposed on us in Massachusetts to Single Payer Health Care. What we have in Massachusetts is a very flawed system that benefits the health industry and the insurers and bleed the people in the process. We are definitely living in a Ronald Reagan type of society: "From the Needy to the Greedy" and we need to make sure that we do not repeat on the National level the Massachusetts disaster.

What we need is single payer universal health care.

Marie-Laure Grimaldi-Marvel
Boston Massachusetts

This program aired on June 21, 2009. The audio for this program is not available.

Martha Bebinger Twitter Reporter
Martha Bebinger covers health care and other general assignments for WBUR.