Yesterday the LA Times reported some individual insurance policies in the state are rising premium rate increases of over 39%. With the health care reform bill stalled in Congress, this story illustrates one of the many reasons for reform.
Anthem Blue Cross is telling many of its approximately 800,000 customers who buy individual coverage — people not covered by group rates — that its prices will go up March 1 and may be adjusted “more frequently” than its typical yearly increases.
The individual insurance market is the main culprit of many of the egregious practices health care reform would correct. Preventing pre-existing condition exclusions, lifetime and annual limits, and other abuses are the core hallmarks of the legislation. The bills before Congress would greatly reduce the number of people enrolling in individual market plans. Instead of signing up for these high cost, low benefit plans, individuals can join together in a broader pool within the health insurance exchange to lower costs. There would also be a minimum standard of benefits that would be required to ensure all plans provide quality coverage.
As the numbers of uninsured continue to grow, obstructing needed health insurance reform will only make more individuals subject to these inane practices. The Republican party and Scott Brown’s (R-MA) election has allowed these practices to continue.
Thus far, the President has not yet put urgancy on Congressional leaders to find the procedural avenues to pass health care reform. Telling the Democratic National Committee “Just in case there is any confusion out there, I’m not going to walk away from health insurance reform.” is different than actually finding the specific path to do it, or sitting down Congressional leaders until a solution is reached.
By Emma Sandoe